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

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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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.

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.