Chemical abundances in 12 red giants of the large magellanic cloud from high-resolution infrared spectroscopy

Verne V. Smith, Kenneth H. Hinkle, Katia Cunha, Bertrand Plez, David L. Lambert, Catherine A. Pilachowski, Beatriz Barbuy, Jorge Meléndez, Suchitra Balachandran, Michael S. Bessell, Douglas P. Geisler, James E. Hesser, Claudia Winge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


High-resolution infrared spectra λ/Δλ = 50,000) have been obtained for 12 red giant members of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) with the Gemini South 8.3 m telescope and Phoenix spectrometer. Two wavelength regions, at 15540 and 23400 Å, were observed. Quantitative chemical abundances of carbon (both 12C and 13C), nitrogen, and oxygen were derived from molecular lines of CO, CN, and OH, while sodium, scandium, titanium, and iron abundances were obtained from neutral atomic lines. The 12 LMC red giants span a metallicity range from [Fe/H] = -1.1 to [Fe/H] = -0.3. It is found that values for both [Na/Fe] and [Ti/Fe] in the LMC giants fall below their corresponding Galactic values (at these same [Fe/H] abundances) by about ∼0.1-0.5 dex; this effect is similar to abundance patterns found in the few dwarf spheroidal galaxies with published abundances. The program red giants all show evidence of first dredge-up mixing of material exposed to the CN cycle, that is, low 12C/13C ratios and lower 12C with higher 14N abundances. The carbon and nitrogen trends are similar to what is observed in samples of Galactic red giants, although the LMC red giants seem to show smaller 12C/13C ratios for a given stellar mass. This relatively small difference in the carbon isotope ratios between LMC and Galactic red giants could be due to increased extra mixing in stars of lower metallicity, as suggested previously in the literature. Comparisons of the oxygen-to-iron ratios in the LMC and the Galaxy indicate that the trend of [O/Fe] versus [Fe/H] in the LMC falls about 0.2 dex below the Galactic trend. Such an offset can be modeled as due to an overall lower rate of supernovae per unit mass in the LMC relative to the Galaxy, as well as a slightly lower ratio of supernovae of Type II to supernovae of Type Ia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3241-3254
Number of pages14
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number6 1764
StatePublished - Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Galaxies: dwarf
  • Magellanic Clouds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Chemical abundances in 12 red giants of the large magellanic cloud from high-resolution infrared spectroscopy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this