March 2012 • 2012ApJ...747L...8R
Abstract • Using near-ultraviolet spectra obtained with the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph on board the Hubble Space Telescope, we detect neutral tellurium in three metal-poor stars enriched by products of r-process nucleosynthesis, BD +17 3248, HD 108317, and HD 128279. Tellurium (Te, Z = 52) is found at the second r-process peak (A ≈ 130) associated with the N = 82 neutron shell closure, and it has not been detected previously in Galactic halo stars. The derived tellurium abundances match the scaled solar system r-process distribution within the uncertainties, confirming the predicted second peak r-process residuals. These results suggest that tellurium is predominantly produced in the main component of the r-process, along with the rare earth elements.Based on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. These observations are associated with programs GO-8342 and GO-12268. Some of the data presented in this Letter were obtained from the Multimission Archive at the Space Telescope Science Institute (MAST). STScI is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555. These data are associated with programs GO-7348, GO-7402, GO-8197, and GO-9455.