Evidence against Anomalous Compositions for Giants in the Galactic Nuclear Star Cluster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Very strong Sc i lines have recently been found in cool M giants in the Nuclear Star Cluster (NSC) in the Galactic center. Interpreting these as anomalously high scandium abundances in the Galactic center would imply a unique enhancement signature and chemical evolution history for NSCs, and a potential test for models of chemical enrichment in these objects. We present high resolution K-band spectra (NIRSPEC/Keck II) of cool M giants situated in the solar neighborhood and compare them with spectra of M giants in the NSC. We clearly identify strong Sc i lines in our solar neighborhood sample as well as in the NSC sample. The strong Sc i lines in M giants are therefore not unique to stars in the NSC and we argue that the strong lines are a property of the line formation process that currently escapes accurate theoretical modeling. We further conclude that for giant stars with effective temperatures below approximately 3800 K these Sc i lines should not be used for deriving the scandium abundances in any astrophysical environment until we better understand how these lines are formed. We also discuss the lines of vanadium, titanium, and yttrium identified in the spectra, which demonstrate a similar striking increase in strength below 3500 K effective temperature.


External organisations
  • Malmö University
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • INAF Osservatorio Astronomico di Bologna
  • Côte d'Azur Observatory
  • Lund University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology


  • Galaxy: center, stars: abundances, stars: late-type
Original languageEnglish
Article number52
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch