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Efficient Searches forr-Process-Enhanced, Metal-Poor Stars

Nuclear Physics A
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.nuclphysa.2005.05.108
  • Mathematics


Neutron-capture-enhanced, metal-poor stars are of central importance to developing an understanding of the operation of the r-process in the early Galaxy, thought to be responsible for the formation of roughly half of all elements beyond the iron peak. A handful of neutron-capture-rich, metal-poor stars with [ Fe / H ] < − 2.0 have already been identified, including the well known r-process-enhanced stars CS 22892-052 and CS 31082-001. However, many questions of fundamental interest can only be addressed with the assemblage of a much larger sample of such stars, so that general properties can be distinguished. We describe a new effort, HERES: The Hamburg/ESO R-Process-Enhanced Star survey, nearing completion, which will identify on the order of 5–10 additional highly r-process-enhanced, metal-poor stars, and in all likelihood, a similar or greater number of mildly r-process-enhanced, metal-poor stars in the halo of the Galaxy. HERES is based on rapid “snapshot” spectra of over 350 candidate halo giants with [ Fe / H ] < − 2.0 , obtained at moderately high resolution, and with moderate signal-to-noise ratios, using the UVES spectrograph on the European VLT 8m telescope.

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