Atomic diffusion and mixing in old stars VI: Chemical abundance variations in M4
(English)In: Astronomy and Astrophysics, ISSN 0004-6361, E-ISSN 1432-0746Article in journal (Other academic) Submitted
Context. Abundance trends in heavier elements with evolutionary phase have been shown to exist in the globular cluster NGC 6121 (M4) ([Fe/H] = −1.1). These trends are a result of atomic diffusion and additional (non-convective) mixing. Studying such trends can provide us with important constraints on the extent to which diffusion modifies the internal structure and surface abundances of solar-type, metal-poor stars.
Aims. Taking advantage of a larger data sample, we investigate the reality and the size of these abundance trends and address questions and potential biases associated with the various stellar populations that make up M4. Methods. We perform an abundance analysis by combining photometric and spectroscopic data of 194 stars located between the turnoff point and the base of the red giant branch. Stellar parameters are derived from uvby Strömgren photometry. Using the quantitative-spectroscopy package SME, stellar surface abundances for light elements such as Li, Na, Mg, Al, and Si as well as heavier elements such as Ca, Ti, and Fe are derived in an automated way by fitting synthetic spectra to individual lines in the stellar spectra, obtained with the VLT/FLAMES-GIRAFFE spectrograph.
Results. Based on uvby Strömgren photometry, we are able to separate three stellar populations in M4 along the evolutionary sequence from the base of the red giant branch down to the turnoff point. We find weak systematic abundance trends with evolutionary phase for Ca, Ti, and Fe which are best explained by stellar-structure models including atomic diffusion with efficient additional mixing. We derive a new value for the initial lithium abundance of M4 after correcting for the effect of atomic diffusion and additional mixing which falls slightly below the predicted standard BBN value.
Conclusions. We find three stellar populations by combining photometric and spectroscopic data of 86 stars in the globular cluster M4. Abundance trends for groups of elements, differently affected by atomic diffusion and additional mixing, are identified. Although the statistical significance of the individual trends is weak, they all support the notion that atomic diffusion is operational along the evolutionary sequence of M4.
stars: abundances - stars: atmospheres - stars: fundamental parameters - globular cluster and associations: M4 - techniques: spectroscopic
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
Research subject Astronomy with specialization in Astrophysics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-230181OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-230181DiVA: diva2:739571
To be submitted to A&A2014-08-212014-08-202015-01-22