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Aoki, M.; Aoki, W.; Francois, P. (2020): Chemical abundance analysis of extremely metal-poor stars in the Sextans dwarf spheroidal galaxy. In: Astronomy & Astrophysics, Vol. 636
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Context. Metal-poor components of dwarf galaxies around the Milky Way could be remnants of the building blocks of the Galactic halo structure. Low-mass stars that are currently observed as metal-poor stars are expected to have formed in chemically homogeneous clusters in the early phases of galaxy formation. They should have already disintegrated and should exhibit large scatter in abundance ratios of some sets of elements (e.g., Sr/Ba) in the Milky Way field stars. However, chemical abundance ratios are expected to cluster in very metal-poor stars in dwarf galaxies because the number of clusters formed in individual galaxies in the very early phase is expected to be quite limited.Aims. We examine the possible clustering of abundance ratios of Sr and Ba in the Sextans dwarf galaxy to test for the clustering star formation scenario.Methods. We investigate a total of 11 elements (C, Mg, Ca, Sc, Ti, Cr, Mn, Ni, Zn, Sr, Ba) in five stars in the Sextans dwarf galaxy. Previous studies suggest that these have similar abundance ratios. In this study, we focus on the abundance ratio of Sr to Ba. The observations are based on high-resolution spectroscopy (R = 40 000) using the Subaru Telescope High Dispersion Spectrograph.Results. The distribution of alpha /Fe abundance ratios of the Sextans dwarf galaxy stars is slightly lower than the average of the values of stars in the Galactic halo. The Sr/Ba abundance ratios for the five metal-poor stars are in good agreement, and this clumping is distinctive compared to the [Sr/Ba] spread seen in the metal-poor halo stars. We find that the probability of such clumping is very small if the Sextans stars have distributions of Sr and Ba abundances similar to halo stars.Conclusions. In the Sextans dwarf galaxy, five out of six of the extremely metal-poor stars for which abundance ratios are well studied so far show clear clustering in abundance ratios including Sr/Ba. These observations tend to support the hypothesis that these stars were formed from a cloud of homogeneous chemical composition.