Observation by Robin Leadbeater: Three Ancient Population II Stars

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Robin Leadbeater


Robin Leadbeater


2021 May 12 - 21:40


2021 May 23 - 13:34



  • ALPY 600 Spectrograph
  • LHIRES III spectrograph 2400l/mm
  • Celestron C11 280mm aperture SCT

720 - 7200 sec


Three Hills Observatory Wigton Cumbria UK

Target name

Milky Way Halo Population II Stars HD140283, HD122563, BD+17 3248


Three Ancient Population II Stars

About this image

Population II stars have low metallicity (typically <1/10 th of that of population I stars like the Sun). These three stars are extreme examples and are thought to have formed just a few hundred million years after the Big Bang, before the interstellar medium had become significantly enriched by the elements formed in supernova explosions. These stars have temperatures similar to the Sun, the spectrum of which is rich in strong lines from a large range of elements, iron in particular but the relative lack of lines in these spectra compared to that of the Sun is evident, particularly in the high resolution spectra.

 (Note several strong (mainly Fe) lines in the solar spectrum appear to be relatively undiminished in the pop II star spectra. This is because the relationship between line depth and abundance is not linear and breaks down completely when the line becomes saturated (ie the photosphere becomes completely opaque) as is the case for many of the stronger lines. This means the difference in line depth does not reflect the true relative abundance.)

These stars are in the Milky Way halo (likely remains of earlier galaxy mergers) and have significantly out of plane orbits so tend to show large proper motions and radial velocities relative to the Sun. Here the spectra have been corrected to the rest velocity frame.

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Andy Wilson
Andy Wilson, 2021 May 25 - 09:38 UTC

Fascinating work Robin. The reduced line strength is very clear.

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