We examine the metallicity distribution function (MDF) and fraction of carbon-enhanced metal-poor (CEMP) stars in a sample that includes 86 stars with [Fe/H] <= -3.0, based on high-resolution, high signal-to-noise spectroscopy, of which some 32 objects lie below [Fe/H] = -3.5. After accounting for the completeness function, the "corrected" MDF does not exhibit the sudden drop at [Fe/H] = -3.6 that was found in recent samples of dwarfs and giants from the Hamburg/ESO survey. Rather, the MDF decreases smoothly down to [Fe/H] = -4.1. Similar results are obtained from the "raw" MDF. We find that the fraction of CEMP objects below [Fe/H] = -3.0 is 23% ± 6% and 32% ± 8% when adopting the Beers & Christlieb and Aoki et al. CEMP definitions, respectively. The former value is in fair agreement with some previous measurements, which adopt the Beers & Christlieb criterion.
- early universe, Galaxy: formation, Galaxy: halo, nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances, stars: abundances