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An inefficient dwarf: Chemical abundances and the evolution of the Ursa Minor dwarf spheroidal galaxy

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  • Uğur Ural
  • Gabriele Cescutti
  • Andreas Koch
  • Jan Kleyna
  • S. Feltzing
  • Mark I. Wilkinson
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>19/03/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)761-770
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


We present detailed chemical element abundance ratios of 17 elements with eight ≤ Z ≤ 60 in three metal-poor stars in the Ursa Minor dwarf spheroidal galaxy, which we combine with extant data from the literature to assess the predictions of a novel suite of galaxy chemical evolution models. The spectroscopic data were obtained with the Keck/High-Resolution Echelle Spectrograph instrument and revealed low metallicities of [Fe/H] = −2.12, −2.13 and −2.67 dex. While the most metal-poor star in our sample shows an overabundance of [Mn/Fe] and other Fe-peak elements, our overall findings are in agreement with previous studies of this galaxy: elevated values of the [α/Fe] ratios that are similar to, or only slightly lower than, the halo values but with SN Ia enrichment at very low metallicity, as well as an enhancement of the ratio of first to second peak neutron capture elements [Y/Ba] with decreasing metallicity. The chemical evolution models which were tailored to reproduce the metallicity distribution function of the dwarf spheroidal, indicate that Ursa Minor had an extended star formation which lasted nearly 5 Gyr with low efficiency and are able to explain the [Y/Ba] enhancement at low metallicity for the first time. In particular, we show that the present-day lack of gas is probably due to continuous loss of gas from the system, which we model as winds.