Chemical Abundances of Hydrostatic and Explosive Alpha-elements in Sagittarius Stream Stars

Jeffrey L. Carlin, Allyson A. Sheffield, Katia Cunha, Verne V. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


We analyze chemical abundances of stars in the Sagittarius (Sgr) tidal stream using high-resolution Gemini+GRACES spectra of 42 members of the highest surface-brightness portions of both the trailing and leading arms. Targets were chosen using a 2MASS+WISE color-color selection, combined with the Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fibre Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST) radial velocities. In this Letter, we analyze [Fe/H] and α-elements produced by both hydrostatic (O, Mg) and explosive (Si, Ca, Ti) nucleosynthetic processes. The average [Fe/H] for our Sgr stream stars is lower than that for stars in the Sgr core, and stars in the trailing and leading arms show systematic differences in [Fe/H]. Both hydrostatic and explosive elements are depleted relative to Milky Way (MW) disk and halo stars, with a larger gap between the MW trend and Sgr stars for the hydrostatic elements. Chemical abundances of Sgr stream stars show similar patterns to those measured in the core of the Sgr dSph. We explore the ratio of hydrostatic to explosive α-elements [α h/ex] (which we refer to as the "HEx ratio"). Our observed HEx ratio trends for Sgr debris are deficient relative to MW stars. Via simple chemical evolution modeling, we show that these HEx ratio patterns are consistent with a Sgr IMF that lacks the most massive stars. This study provides a link between the chemical properties in the intact Sgr core and the significant portion of the Sgr system's luminosity that is estimated to currently reside in the streams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL10
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 20 2018


  • Galaxy: halo
  • galaxies: dwarf
  • galaxies: individual (Sagittarius dSph)
  • stars: abundances
  • stars: late-type

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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