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Light, Alpha, and Fe-peak element abundances in the Galactic bulge

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  • Christian I. Johnson
  • R. Michael Rich
  • Chiaki Kobayashi
  • Andrea Kunder
  • Andreas Koch
Article number67
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>9/09/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>The Astronomical Journal
Issue number4
Number of pages32
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


We present radial velocities and chemical abundances of O, Na, Mg, Al, Si, Ca, Cr, Fe, Co, Ni, and Cu for a sample of 156 red giant branch stars in two Galactic bulge fields centered near (l, b) = (+5.25,–3.02) and (0,–12). The (+5.25,–3.02) field also includes observations of the bulge globular cluster NGC 6553. The results are based on high-resolution (R ~ 20,000), high signal-to-noise ration (S/N gsim 70) FLAMES-GIRAFFE spectra obtained through the European Southern Observatory archive. However, we only selected a subset of the original observations that included spectra with both high S/N and that did not show strong TiO absorption bands. This work extends previous analyses of this data set beyond Fe and the α-elements Mg, Si, Ca, and Ti. While we find reasonable agreement with past work, the data presented here indicate that the bulge may exhibit a different chemical composition than the local thick disk, especially at [Fe/H] gsim –0.5. In particular, the bulge [α/Fe] ratios may remain enhanced to a slightly higher [Fe/H] than the thick disk, and the Fe-peak elements Co, Ni, and Cu appear enhanced compared to the disk. There is also some evidence that the [Na/Fe] (but not [Al/Fe]) trends between the bulge and local disk may be different at low and high metallicity. We also find that the velocity dispersion decreases as a function of increasing [Fe/H] for both fields, and do not detect any significant cold, high-velocity populations. A comparison with chemical enrichment models indicates that a significant fraction of hypernovae may be required to explain the bulge abundance trends, and that initial mass functions that are steep, top-heavy (and do not include strong outflow), or truncated to avoid including contributions from stars >40 M ☉ are ruled out, in particular because of disagreement with the Fe-peak abundance data. For most elements, the NGC 6553 stars exhibit abundance trends nearly identical to comparable metallicity bulge field stars. However, the star-to-star scatter and mean [Na/Fe] ratios appear higher in the cluster, perhaps indicating additional self-enrichment.