Detection of the Second r-process Peak Element Tellurium in Metal-Poor Stars

Ian U. Roederer (3), James E. Lawler (4), John J. Cowan (5), Timothy C. Beers (6,7,8), Anna Frebel (9), Inese I. Ivans (10), Hendrik Schatz (7,8,11), Jennifer S. Sobeck (12), Christopher Sneden (13) ((3) Carnegie Observatories, CA, USA; (4) University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA; (5) University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK , USA; (6) National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Tucson, AZ, USA; (7)  Michigan State University, E. Lansing, MI , USA; (8) Michigan State University, E. Lansing, MI, USA; (9) Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, Cambridge, MA, USA; (10) University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA; (11) Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA; (12) University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA; (13) University of Texas at Austin, Austin, USA)

Using near-ultraviolet spectra obtained with the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph onboard the Hubble Space Telescope, we detect neutral tellurium in three metal-poor stars enriched by products of r-process nucleosynthesis, BD+17 3248, HD 108317, and HD 128279. Tellurium (Te, Z=52) is found at the second r-process peak (A=130) associated with the N=82 neutron shell closure, and it has not been detected previously in Galactic halo stars. The derived tellurium abundances match the scaled solar system r-process distribution within the uncertainties, confirming the predicted second peak r-process residuals. These results suggest that tellurium is predominantly produced in the main component of the r-process, along with the rare earth elements.

Complete preprint ==> http://arxiv.org/abs/1202.2378

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