Paz Beniamini, Kenta Hotokezaka, Tsvi Piran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent observations of r-process material in ultrafaint dwarf galaxies (UFDs) shed light on the sources of these elements. Strong upper limits on the Eu mass in some UFDs, combined with detections of much larger masses in a UFD, Reticulum II, and other dwarf galaxies, imply that Eu production is dominated by rare events, and that the minimal Eu mass observed in any UFD is approximately the amount of Eu mass produced per event. This is consistent with other independent observations in the Galaxy. We estimate, using a model-independent likelihood analysis, the rate and Eu (Fe) mass produced per r-process (Fe production) event in dwarf galaxies, including classical dwarfs and UFDs. The mass and rate of the Fe production events are consistent with the normal core-collapse supernova (CCSN) scenario. The Eu mass per event is 3 × 10-5 M < mEu < 2 × 10-4 M⊙, corresponding to a total r-process mass per event of 6× 10-3 M - < mr-process < 4 × 10-2 M⊙. The rate of r-process events is 2.5 × 10-4 < R rp/SN < 1.4 × 10-3 as compared with the CCSN rate. These values are consistent with the total Eu mass observed in our own Galaxy, suggesting that the same mechanism is behind the production of r-process events in both dwarf galaxies and the Milky Way, and that it may be the dominant mechanism for production of r-process elements in the universe. The results are consistent with neutron star merger estimates but cannot rule out other rare core-collapse scenarios, provided that they produce significant amounts of r-process material per event.

Original languageEnglish
Article number149
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..


  • galaxies: dwarf
  • stars: abundances
  • stars: neutron


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