Discovery of a new stellar sub-population residing in the (inner) stellar halo of the Milky Way

29 Oct 2019  ·  Fernández-Trincado José G., Beers Timothy C., Placco Vinicius M., Moreno Edmundo, Alves-Brito Alan, Minniti Dante, Tang Baitian, Pérez-Villegas Angeles, Reylé Céline, Robin Annie C., Villanova Sandro ·

We report the discovery of a unique collection of metal-poor giant-stars, that exhibit anomalously high levels of $^{28}$Si, clearly above typical Galactic levels. Our sample spans a narrow range of metallicities, peaking at $-1.07\pm 0.06$, and exhibit abundance ratios of [Si,Al/Fe] that are as extreme as those observed in Galactic globular clusters (GCs), and Mg is slightly less overabundant... In almost all the sources we used, the elemental abundances were re-determined from high-resolution spectra, which were re-analyzed assuming LTE. Thus, we compiled the main element families, namely the light elements (C, N), $\alpha-$elements (O, Mg, Si), iron-peak element (Fe), $\textit{s}-$process elements (Ce, Nd), and the light odd-Z element (Al). We also provide dynamical evidence that most of these stars lie on tight (inner)halo-like and retrograde orbits passing through the bulge. Such kinds of objects have been found in present-day halo GCs, providing the clearest chemical signature of past accretion events in the (inner) stellar halo of the Galaxy, formed possibly as the result of dissolved halo GCs. Their chemical composition is, in general, similar to that of typical GCs population, although several differences exist. read more

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Astrophysics of Galaxies Solar and Stellar Astrophysics