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Chemical abundances of massive stars in Local Group galaxies

  • Kim A. Venn (a1), Andreas Kaufer (a2), Eline Tolstoy (a3), Rolf-Peter Kudritzki (a4), Norbert Przybilla (a4), Stephen J. Smartt (a5) and Daniel J. Lennon (a6)...

Abstract

The relative abundances of elements in galaxies can provide valuable information on the stellar and chemical evolution of a galaxy. While nebulae can provide abundances for a variety of light elements, stars are the only way to directly determine the abundances of iron-group and s-process and r-process elements in a galaxy. The new 8m and 10m class telescopes and high-efficiency spectrographs now make high-quality spectral observations of bright supergiants possible in dwarf galaxies in the Local Group. We have been concentrating on elemental abundances in the metal-poor dwarf irregular galaxies, NGC 6822, WLM, Sextants A, and GR 8. Comparing abundance ratios to those predicted from their star formation histories, determined from color-magnitude diagrams, and comparing those ratios between these galaxies can give us new insights into the evolution of these dwarf irregular galaxies. Iron-group abundances also allow us to examine the metallicities of the stars in these galaxies directly, which affects their inferred mass loss rates and predicted stellar evolution properties.

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References

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