The SkyMapper DR1.1 search for extremely metal-poor stars

Gary Stewart Da Costa, Michael Stanley Bessell, Dougal Mackey, Thomas Nordlander, Martin Asplund, Andrew Casey, Anna Frebel, Karin Lind, Anna F Marino, Simon Murphy, John Edward Norris, Brian Schmidt, David Yong

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22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We present and discuss the results of a search for extremely metal-poor stars based on photometry from data release DR1.1 of the SkyMapper imaging survey of the southern sky. In particular, we outline our photometric selection procedures and describe the low-resolution (R ≈ 3000) spectroscopic follow-up observations that are used to provide estimates of effective temperature, surface gravity, and metallicity ([Fe/H]) for the candidates. The selection process is very efficient: of the 2618 candidates with low-resolution spectra that have photometric metallicity estimates less than or equal to −2.0, 41 per cent have [Fe/H] ≤ −2.75 and only approximately seven per cent have [Fe/H] > −2.0 dex. The most metal-poor candidate in the sample has [Fe/H] < −4.75 and is notably carbon rich. Except at the lowest metallicities ([Fe/H] < −4), the stars observed spectroscopically are dominated by a ‘carbon-normal’ population with [C/Fe]1D, LTE ≤ +1 dex. Consideration of the A(C)1D, LTE versus [Fe/H]1D, LTE diagram suggests that the current selection process is strongly biased against stars with A(C)1D, LTE > 7.3 (predominantly CEMP-s) while any bias against stars with A(C)1D, LTE < 7.3 and [C/Fe]1D, LTE > +1 (predominantly CEMP-no) is not readily quantifiable given the uncertainty in the SkyMapper v-band DR1.1 photometry. We find that the metallicity distribution function of the observed sample has a power-law slope of ∆(Log N)/∆[Fe/H] = 1.5 ± 0.1 dex per dex for −4.0 ≤ [Fe/H] ≤ −2.75, but appears to drop abruptly at [Fe/H] ≈ −4.2, in line with previous studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5900-5918
Number of pages19
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume489
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Galaxy: halo
  • Galaxy: stellar content
  • Stars: abundances
  • Stars: Population II

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