The Gaia-ESO Survey: The N/O abundance ratio in the Milky Way

L. Magrini, F. Vincenzo, S. Randich, E. Pancino, G. Casali, G. Tautvaišienė, A. Drazdauskas, Š. Mikolaitis, R. Minkevičiūtė, E. Stonkutė, Y. Chorniy, V. Bagdonas, G. Kordopatis, E. Friel, V. Roccatagliata, F. M. Jiménez-Esteban, G. Gilmore, A. Vallenari, T. Bensby, A. Bragaglia, A. J. Korn, A. C. Lanzafame, R. Smiljanic, A. Bayo, A. R. Casey, M. T. Costado, E. Franciosini, A. Hourihane, P. Jofré, J. Lewis, L. Monaco, L. Morbidelli, G. Sacco and C. Worley. 2018. The Gaia-ESO Survey: The N/O abundance ratio in the Milky Way. Astronomy and Astrophysics 618, DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201833224

The abundance ratio N/O is a useful tool to study the interplay of galactic processes, for example star formation efficiency, timescale of infall, and outflow loading factor.

Aims. We aim to trace log(N/O) versus [Fe/H] in the Milky Way and to compare this ratio with a set of chemical evolution models to understand the role of infall, outflow, and star formation efficiency in the building up of the Galactic disc.

Methods. We used the abundances from IDR2-3, IDR4, IDR5 data releases of the Gaia-ESO Survey both for Galactic field and open cluster stars. We determined membership and average composition of open clusters and we separated thin and thick disc field stars. We considered the effect of mixing in the abundance of N in giant stars. We computed a grid of chemical evolution models, suited to reproduce the main features of our Galaxy, exploring the effects of the star formation efficiency, infall timescale, and differential outflow.

Results. With our samples, we map the metallicity range -0. 6 <= [Fe/H] <= 0.3 with a corresponding -1.2 <= log(N/O) <= -0.2, where the secondary production of N dominates. Thanks to the wide range of Galactocentric distances covered by our samples, we can distinguish the behaviour of log(N/O) in different parts of the Galaxy.

Conclusions. Our spatially resolved results allow us to distinguish differences in the evolution of N/O with Galactocentric radius. Comparing the data with our models, we can characterise the radial regions of our Galaxy. A shorter infall timescale is needed in the inner regions, while the outer regions need a longer infall timescale, coupled with a higher star formation efficiency. We compare our results with nebular abundances obtained in MaNGA galaxies, finding in our Galaxy a much wider range of log(N/O) than in integrated observations of external galaxies of similar stellar mass, but similar to the ranges found in studies of individual H II regions.

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