NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009A-0308

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Proposal Information for 2009A-0308


PI: Katia Cunha, NOAO, kcunha@noao.edu
Address: NGSC, 950 N Cherry Ave., Tucson, Arizona 85719, USA

CoI: Kris Sellgren, Ohio State University
CoI: Robert Blum, NOAO
CoI: Solange Ramirez, IPAC
CoI: Verne V. Smith, NOAO

Title: Chemical Evolution within 2pc of the Central Galactic Black Hole

Abstract: The chemical abundances of young, massive, cool stars in the central few pc of the Milky Way trace star formation and chemical enrichment histories in a unique Galactic environment which is in close proximity to a massive black hole. Our Galactic Center is of intense interest for understanding the nuclei of both normal galaxies and AGNs. We propose to follow up the unexpected discovery of enhanced (alpha)-element stellar abundances at near-solar metallicity in the Galactic Center. The initial study focused on the (alpha)-elements oxygen and calcium. Here we will extend our observations to include two additional key elements, Mg and Al (as well as Fe). Magnesium is a light (alpha)- element that is important in characterizing the nature of the observed (alpha)-element enhancements. As shown in recent studies, for example, the distinct behaviors of O and Mg as a function of metallicity trace the relative importance of Wolf-Rayet winds in shaping the nature of chemical evolution. Aluminum adds a new dimension in constraining the nucleosynthetic history, as the supernova yields of Al are metallicity dependent. Taken together, the combination of O, Mg, Al and Fe abundances will allow modeling of the chemical evolution within the region of the Milky Way that has undergone the most intense star formation.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



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