Volume 522, November 2010
|Number of page(s)||27|
|Section||Galactic structure, stellar clusters and populations|
|Published online||28 October 2010|
Quantifying the uncertainties of chemical evolution studies
II. Stellar yields
Dipartimento di AstronomiaUniversità di Bologna,
via Ranzani 1,
2 INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Bologna, via Ranzani 1, 40127 Bologna, Italy
3 Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Mt. Stromlo Observatory, Cotter Rd., Weston Creek, ACT 2611, Australia
4 Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Trieste, via Tiepolo 11, 34143 Trieste, Italy
5 INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste, via Tiepolo 11, 34143 Trieste, Italy
Accepted: 28 June 2010
Context. Galactic chemical evolution models are useful tools for interpreting the large body of high-quality observational data on the chemical composition of stars and gas in galaxies that have become available in recent years.
Aims. This is the second paper of a series that aims at quantifying the uncertainties in chemical evolution model predictions related to the underlying model assumptions. Specifically, it deals with the uncertainties due to the choice of the stellar yields.
Methods. We adopted a widely used model for the chemical evolution of the Galaxy to test the effects of changing the stellar nucleosynthesis prescriptions on the predicted evolution of several chemical species. Up-to-date results from stellar evolutionary models were carefully taken into account.
Results. We find that, except for a handful of elements whose nucleosynthesis in stars is well understood by now, large uncertainties still affect model predictions. This is especially true for the majority of the iron-peak elements, but also for much more abundant species such as carbon and nitrogen. The main causes of the mismatch we find among the outputs of different models assuming different stellar yields and among model predictions and observations are (i) the adopted location of the mass cut in models of type II supernova explosions; (ii) the adopted strength and extent of hot bottom burning in models of asymptotic giant branch stars; (iii) the neglection of the effects of rotation on the chemical composition of the stellar surfaces; (iv) the adopted rates of mass loss and of (v) nuclear reactions; and (vi) the different treatments of convection.
Conclusions. Our results suggest that it is mandatory to include processes such as hot bottom burning in intermediate-mass stars and rotation in stars of all masses in accurate studies of stellar evolution and nucleosynthesis. In spite of their importance, both these processes still have to be better understood and characterized. As for massive stars, presupernova models computed with mass loss and rotation are available in the literature, but they still wait for a self-consistent coupling with the results of explosive nucleosynthesis computations.
Key words: Galaxy: abundances / Galaxy: evolution / nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances
© ESO, 2010
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