Metallicity Distribution Functions, Radial Velocities, and Alpha Element Abundances in Three Off-Axis Bulge Fields

Christian I. Johnson, R. Michael Rich, Chiaki Kobayashi, Andrea Kunder, Catherine A. Pilachowski, Andreas Koch, Roberto De Propris

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50 Citations (Scopus)


We present radial velocities and chemical abundance ratios of [Fe/H], [O/Fe], [Si/Fe], and [Ca/Fe] for 264 red giant branch (RGB) stars in three Galactic bulge off-axis fields located near (l,b)=(-5.5,-7), (-4,-9), and (+8.5,+9). The results are based on equivalent width and spectrum synthesis analyses of moderate resolution (R~18,000), high signal-to-noise ratio (S/N~75-300) spectra obtained with the Hydra spectrographs on the Blanco 4m and WIYN 3.5m telescopes. The targets were selected from the blue side of the giant branch to avoid cool stars that would be strongly affected by CN and TiO; however, a comparison of the color-metallicity distribution in literature samples suggests our selection of bluer targets should not present a significant bias against metal-rich stars. We find a full range in metallicity that spans [Fe/H]\approx-1.5 to +0.5, and that, in accordance with the previously observed minor-axis vertical metallicity gradient, the median [Fe/H] also declines with increasing Galactic latitude in off-axis fields. The off-axis vertical [Fe/H] gradient in the southern bulge is estimated to be ~0.4 dex/kpc. The (+8.5,+9) field exhibits a higher than expected metallicity, with a median [Fe/H]=-0.23, that might be related to a stronger presence of the X--shaped bulge structure along that line-of-sight. All fields exhibit an identical, strong decrease in velocity dispersion with increasing metallicity that is consistent with observations in similar minor-axis outer bulge fields. Additionally, the [O/Fe], [Si/Fe], and [Ca/Fe] versus [Fe/H] trends are identical among our three fields, and are in good agreement with past bulge studies. [abridged]
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages47
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2013


  • astro-ph.SR


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