Dr. Karl Remeis-Observatory & ECAP, Astronomical Institute, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Sternwartstr. 7, 96049 Bamberg, Germany e-mail: email@example.com
2 Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 1, 85741 Garching, Germany
3 Geneva Observatory, University of Geneva, Maillettes 51, 1290 Sauverny, Switzerland
Accepted: 17 April 2010
Aims. We test predictions of evolution models on mixing of CNO-cycled products in massive stars from a fundamental perspective. Relative changes within the theoretical C:N:O abundance ratios and the buildup of helium are compared with observational results.
Methods. A sample of well-studied Galactic massive stars is presented. High-quality optical spectra are carefully analysed using improved NLTE line-formation and comprehensive analysis strategies. The results are put in the context of the existing literature data.
Results. A tight trend in the observed N/C vs. N/O ratios and the buildup of helium is found from the self-consistent analysis of main-sequence to supergiant stars for the first time. The catalytic nature of the CNO-cycles is confirmed quantitatively, though further investigations are required to derive a fully consistent picture. Our observational results support the case of strong mixing, as predicted e.g. by evolution models that consider magnetic fields or by models that have gone through the first dredge-up in the case of many supergiants.
Key words: stars: abundances / stars: atmospheres / stars: early-type / stars: evolution / stars: massive / supergiants
© ESO, 2010