NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2013A-0019

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Proposal Information for 2013A-0019


PI: Max Pettini, University of Cambridge, pettini@ast.cam.ac.uk
Address: Institute of Astronomy, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0HA, UK

CoI: Ryan Cooke, University of California, Santa Cruz

Title: Probing Early Nucleosynthesis with the Most Metal-Poor DLAs

Abstract: We propose to use HIRES to record the spectra of SDSS QSOs whose sight-lines intersect some of the most metal-poor damped Ly(alpha) systems known. By measuring the relative abundances of C, N, O, Al, Si, S, and Fe in these near-pristine (Fe/H] < -2.5) gas clouds at high redshifts, we will be able to estimate the masses, explosion energies and degree of mixing of the (metal-free?) stars that seeded them. The DLAs to be targeted have been selected from intermediate resolution spectroscopy of SDSS candidates to be the most likely to have very low metallicity and a degree of Carbon enhancement. However, only the HIRES data sought will allow us to determine their chemical composition with the precision required for meaningful comparison with models of Population III nucleosynthesis. The work proposed complements and extends current efforts towards the same goal using extremely metal-poor stars in the Galaxy and its satellites.


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