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Searches for metal-poor stars from the Hamburg/ESO survey using the CH G band


We describe a new method to search for metal-poor candidates from the Hamburg/ESO objective-prism survey(HES) based on identifying stars with apparently strong CH G-band strengths for their colors. The hypothesis we exploit is that large overabundances of carbon are common among metal-poor stars, as has been found by numerous studies over the past two decades. The selection was made by considering two line indices in the 4300Å region,applied directly to the low-resolution prism spectra. This work also extends a previously published method byadding bright sources to the sample. The spectra of these stars suffer from saturation effects, compromising the index calculations and leading to an undersampling of the brighter candidates. A simple numerical procedure, based on available photometry, was developed to correct the line indices and overcome this limitation. Visual inspection and classification of the spectra from the HES plates yielded a list of 5288 new metal-poor (and by selection,carbon-rich) candidates, which are presently being used as targets for medium-resolution spectroscopic follow-up. Estimates of the stellar atmospheric parameters, as well as carbon abundances, are now available for 117 of the first candidates, based on follow-up medium-resolution spectra obtained with the SOAR 4.1 m and Gemini 8 mtelescopes. We demonstrate that our new method improves the metal-poor star fractions found by our pilot study by up to a factor of three in the same magnitude range, as compared with our pilot study based on only one CH G-band index. Our selection scheme obtained roughly a 40% success rate for identification of stars with [Fe/H] < 1.0;the primary contaminant is late-type stars with near-solar abundances and, often, emission line cores that filled inthe Ca ii K line on the prism spectrum. Because the selection is based on carbon, we greatly increase the numbers of known carbon-enhanced metal-poor stars from the HES with intermediate metallicities 2.0 < [Fe/H] < 1.0,which previous survey efforts undersampled. There are eight newly discovered stars with [Fe/H] < 3.0 in our sample, including two with [Fe/H] < 3.5. (AU)

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