First stellar abundances in NGC 6822 from VLT-UVES and Keck-Hires spectroscopy

K.A. Venn, D.J. Lennon, A. Kaufer, J.K. McCarthy, N. Przybilla, R.P. Kudritzki, M. Lemke, E.D. Skillman, Stephen Smartt

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105 Citations (Scopus)


We have obtained the first high-resolution spectra of individual stars in the dwarf irregular galaxy NGC 6822. The spectra of the two A-type supergiants were obtained at the Very Large Telescope and Keck Observatories, using the Ultraviolet-Visual Echelle Spectrograph and the High Resolution Echelle Spectrometer, respectively. A detailed model atmospheres analysis has been used to determine their atmospheric parameters and elemental abundances. The mean iron abundance from these two stars is [[Fe/H]] = -0.49 +/- 0.22 (+/- 0.21),(6) with Cr yielding a similar underabundance, [[Cr/H]] = -0.50 +/- 0.20 (+/- 0.16). This confirms that NGC 6822 has a metallicity that is slightly higher than that of the SMC and is the first determination of the present-day iron group abundances in NGC 6822. The mean stellar oxygen abundance, 12 + log (O/H) = 8.36 +/- 0.19 (+/- 0.21), is in good agreement with the nebular oxygen results. Oxygen has the same underabundance as iron, [[O/ Fe]] = + 0.02 +/- 0.20 (+/- 0.21). This O/Fe ratio is very similar to that seen in the Magellanic Clouds, which supports the picture that chemical evolution occurs more slowly in these lower mass galaxies, although the O/Fe ratio is also consistent with that observed in comparatively metal-poor stars in the Galactic disk. Combining all of the available abundance observations for NGC 6822 shows that there is no trend in abundance with galactocentric distance. However, a subset of the highest quality data is consistent with a radial abundance gradient. More high-quality stellar and nebular observations are needed to confirm this intriguing possibility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)765-776
Number of pages12
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 PART 1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science


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