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Neutron Star Mergers as the Origin of r-process Elements in the Galactic Halo Based on the Sub-halo Clustering Scenario

Abstract : Recent hydrodynamical and nucleosynthesis studies have suggested binary mergers (NSMs) of double neutron star (and black-hole-neutron-star) systems as major sites of r-process elements in the Galaxy. It has been pointed out, however, that the estimated long lifetimes of neutron star binaries are in conflict with the presence of r-process-enhanced halo stars at metallicities as low as [Fe/H] ∼ -3. To resolve this problem, we examine the role of NSMs in the early Galactic chemical evolution with the assumption that the Galactic halo was formed from merging sub-halos. We present simple models for the chemical evolution of sub-halos with total final stellar masses between {{10}4} {{M}} and 2× {{10}8} {{M}}. The typical lifetimes of compact binaries are assumed to be 100 Myr (for 95% of their population) and 1 Myr (for 5%), according to recent binary population synthesis studies. The resulting metallicities of sub-halos and their ensemble are consistent with the observed mass-metallicity relation of dwarf galaxies in the Local Group and the metallicity distribution of the Galactic halo, respectively. We find that the r-process abundance ratios [r/Fe] start increasing at [Fe/H] ≤slant -3 if the star formation efficiencies are smaller for less-massive sub-halos. In addition, sub-solar [r/Fe] values (observed as [Ba/Fe] ∼ -1.5 for [Fe/H] -3) are explained by the contribution from short-lived (∼1 Myr) binaries. Our results indicate that NSMs may have contributed substantially to the r-process element abundances throughout the history of the Galaxy.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, April 19, 2022 - 2:47:41 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, April 20, 2022 - 3:40:07 AM

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yuhri Ishimaru, Shinya Wanajo, Nikos Prantzos. Neutron Star Mergers as the Origin of r-process Elements in the Galactic Halo Based on the Sub-halo Clustering Scenario. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 2015, 804, ⟨10.1088/2041-8205/804/2/L35⟩. ⟨insu-03644960⟩

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