High-precision abundances of elements in solar-type stars: Evidence of two distinct sequences in abundance-age relations

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Aims. Previous high-precision studies of abundances of elements in solar twin stars are extended to a wider metallicity range to see how the trends of element ratios with stellar age depend on [Fe/H]. Methods. HARPS spectra with signal-to-noise ratios S/N ≳ 600 at λ​∼ ​ 6000 Å were analysed with MARCS model atmospheres to obtain 1D LTE abundances of C, O, Na, Mg, Al, Si, Ca, Ti, Cr, Fe, Ni, Sr, and Y for 72 nearby solar-type stars with metallicities in the range of -0.3 ≲[Fe/H] ≲+0.3 and ASTEC stellar models were used to determine stellar ages from effective temperatures, luminosities obtained via Gaia DR2 parallaxes, and heavy element abundances. Results. The age-metallicity distribution appears to consist of the following two distinct populations: a sequence of old stars with a steep rise of [Fe/H] to ∼​+0.3 dex at an age of ∼​ 7 Gyr and a younger sequence with [Fe/H] increasing from about -0.3 dex to ∼​+0.2 dex over the last 6 Gyr. Furthermore, the trends of several abundance ratios, [O/Fe], [Na/Fe], [Ca/Fe], and [Ni/Fe], as a function of stellar age, split into two corresponding sequences. The [Y/Mg]-age relation, on the other hand, shows no offset between the two age sequences and has no significant dependence on [Fe/H], but the components of a visual binary star, ζ Reticuli, have a large and puzzling deviation. Conclusions. The split of the age-metallicity distribution into two sequences may be interpreted as evidence of two episodes of accretion of gas onto the Galactic disk with a quenching of star formation in between. Some of the [X/Fe]-age relations support this scenario but other relations are not so easy to explain, which calls for a deeper study of systematic errors in the derived abundances as a function of [Fe/H], in particular 3D non-LTE effects.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA81
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

    Research areas

  • Galaxy: disk, Galaxy: evolution, Stars: abundances, Stars: fundamental parameters, Stars: solar-type

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