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Schlesinger K.J.,Australian National University | Johnson J.A.,Ohio State University | Rockosi C.M.,University of California at Santa Cruz | Lee Y.S.,New Mexico State University | And 10 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2014

Using G dwarfs from the Sloan Extension for Galactic Understanding and Exploration (SEGUE) survey, we have determined the vertical metallicity gradient in the Milky Way's disk and examined how this gradient varies for different [α/Fe] subsamples. Our sample contains over 40,000 stars with low-resolution spectroscopy over 144 lines of sight. It also covers a significant disk volume, between 0.3 and 1.6 kpc from the Galactic plane, and allows us to examine the disk in situ, whereas previous analyses were more limited in scope. Furthermore, this work does not presuppose a disk structure, whether composed of a single complex population or distinct thin and thick disk components. We employ the SEGUE Stellar Parameter Pipeline to obtain estimates of stellar parameters, [Fe/H], and [α/Fe] and extract multiple volume-complete subsamples of approximately 1000 stars each. Based on SEGUE's target-selection algorithm, we adjust each subsample to determine an unbiased picture of disk chemistry; consequently, each individual star represents the properties of many. The metallicity gradient is -0.243 dex kpc-1 for the entire sample, which we compare to various literature results. This gradient stems from the different [α/Fe] populations inhabiting different ranges of height above the Galactic plane. Each [α/Fe] subsample shows little change in median [Fe/H] with height. If we associate [α/Fe] with age, the negligible gradients of our [α/Fe] subsamples suggest that stars formed in different epochs exhibit comparable vertical structure, implying similar star formation processes and evolution. © 2014. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

O'Shea B.W.,Michigan State University | O'Shea B.W.,JINA Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics | Wise J.H.,Georgia Institute of Technology | Xu H.,University of California at San Diego | Norman M.L.,University of California at San Diego
Astrophysical Journal Letters | Year: 2015

In this paper, we present the first results from the Renaissance Simulations, a suite of extremely high-resolution and physics-rich AMR calculations of high-redshift galaxy formation performed on the Blue Waters supercomputer. These simulations contain hundreds of well-resolved galaxies at z ∼ 25-8, and make several novel, testable predictions. Most critically, we show that the ultraviolet luminosity function of our simulated galaxies is consistent with observations of high-z galaxy populations at the bright end of the luminosity function (M1600 ≤ -17), but at lower luminosities is essentially flat rather than rising steeply, as has been inferred by Schechter function fits to high-z observations, and has a clearly defined lower limit in UV luminosity. This behavior of the luminosity function is due to two factors: (i) the strong dependence of the star formation rate (SFR) on halo virial mass in our simulated galaxy population, with lower-mass halos having systematically lower SFRs and thus lower UV luminosities; and (ii) the fact that halos with virial masses below ≃2 × 108 M⊙ do not universally contain stars, with the fraction of halos containing stars dropping to zero at ≃7 × 106 M⊙. Finally, we show that the brightest of our simulated galaxies may be visible to current and future ultra-deep space-based surveys, particularly if lensed regions are chosen for observation. © 2015. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Kennedy C.R.,Australian National University | Stancliffe R.J.,Australian National University | Stancliffe R.J.,Argelander Institute For Astronomie | Kuehn C.,University of Sydney | And 7 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2014

We report estimated carbon-abundance ratios, [C/Fe], for seven newly discovered carbon-enhanced metal-poor (CEMP) RR Lyrae stars. These are well-studied RRab stars that had previously been selected as CEMP candidates based on low-resolution spectra. For this pilot study, we observed eight of these CEMP RR Lyrae candidates with the Wide Field Spectrograph on the ANU 2.3 m telescope. Prior to this study, only two CEMP RR Lyrae stars had been discovered: TY Gru and SDSS J1707+58. We compare our abundances to new theoretical models of the evolution of low-mass stars in binary systems. These simulations evolve the secondary stars, post accretion from an asymptotic giant-branch (AGB) donor, all the way to the RR Lyrae stage. The abundances of CEMP RR Lyrae stars can be used as direct probes of the nature of the donor star, such as its mass, and the amount of material accreted onto the secondary. We find that the majority of the sample of CEMP RR Lyrae stars is consistent with AGB donor masses of around 1.5-2.0 M⊙ and accretion masses of a few hundredths of a solar mass. Future high-resolution studies of these newly discovered CEMP RR Lyrae stars will help disentangle the effects of the proposed mixing processes that occur in such objects. © 2014. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Xu H.,University of San Diego | Norman M.L.,University of San Diego | Norman M.L.,University of California at San Diego | O'Shea B.W.,Michigan State University | And 2 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2016

We present results on the formation of Population III (Pop III) stars at redshift 7.6 from the Renaissance Simulations, a suite of extremely high-resolution and physics-rich radiation transport hydrodynamics cosmological adaptive-mesh refinement simulations of high-redshift galaxy formation performed on the Blue Waters supercomputer. In a survey volume of about 220 comoving Mpc3, we found 14 Pop III galaxies with recent star formation. The surprisingly late formation of Pop III stars is possible due to two factors: (i) the metal enrichment process is local and slow, leaving plenty of pristine gas to exist in the vast volume; and (ii) strong Lyman-Werner radiation from vigorous metal-enriched star formation in early galaxies suppresses Pop III formation in ("not so") small primordial halos with mass less than ∼3 × 107 M o. We quantify the properties of these Pop III galaxies and their Pop III star formation environments. We look for analogs to the recently discovered luminous Ly emitter CR7, which has been interpreted as a Pop III star cluster within or near a metal-enriched star-forming galaxy. We find and discuss a system similar to this in some respects, however, the Pop III star cluster is far less massive and luminous than CR7 is inferred to be. © 2016. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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