Detection of the Second r-Process Peak Element Tellurium in Metal-Poor Stars

Date
2012-03
Authors
Roederer, Ian U.
Lawler, James E.
Cowan, John J.
Beers, Timothy C.
Frebel, Anna
Ivans,, Inese I.
Schatz, Hendrik
Sobeck, Jennifer S.
Sneden, Christopher
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Abstract

Using near-ultraviolet spectra obtained with the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph on board the Hubble Space Telescope, we detect neutral tellurium in three metal-poor stars enriched by products of r-process nucleosynthesis, BD +17 3248, HD 108317, and HD 128279. Tellurium (Te, Z = 52) is found at the second r-process peak (A approximate to 130) associated with the N = 82 neutron shell closure, and it has not been detected previously in Galactic halo stars. The derived tellurium abundances match the scaled solar system r-process distribution within the uncertainties, confirming the predicted second peak r-process residuals. These results suggest that tellurium is predominantly produced in the main component of the r-process, along with the rare earth elements.

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Citation
Roederer, Ian U., James E. Lawler, John J. Cowan, Timothy C. Beers, Anna Frebel, Inese I. Ivans, Hendrik Schatz, Jennifer S. Sobeck, and Christopher Sneden. "Detection of the second r-process peak element tellurium in metal-poor stars." The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Vol. 747, No. 1 (Mar., 2012): L8.