Volume 590, June 2016
|Number of page(s)||10|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||12 May 2016|
On the red giant branch mass loss in 47 Tucanae: Constraints from the horizontal branch morphology
Astrophysics Research Institute, Liverpool John Moores
University, IC2, Liverpool Science Park,
2 INAF−Osservatorio Astronomico di Teramo, via M. Maggini, 64100 Teramo, Italy
e-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
3 Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Calle via Lactea s/n, 38205, La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
Received: 25 January 2016
Accepted: 10 April 2016
We obtain stringent constraints on the actual efficiency of mass loss for red giant branch stars in the Galactic globular cluster 47 Tuc, by comparing synthetic modelling based on stellar evolution tracks with the observed distribution of stars along the horizontal branch in the colour-magnitude-diagram. We confirm that the observed, wedge-shaped distribution of the horizontal branch can only be reproduced by accounting for a range of initial He abundances, in agreement with inferences from the analysis of the main sequence, and a red giant branch mass loss with a small dispersion. We carefully investigated several possible sources of uncertainty that could affect the results of the horizontal branch modelling, stemming from uncertainties in both stellar model computations and cluster properties, such as heavy element abundances, reddening, and age. We determine a firm lower limit of ~0.17M⊙ for the mass lost by red giant branch stars, corresponding to horizontal branch stellar masses between ~0.65M⊙ and ~0.73M⊙ (the range driven by the range of initial helium abundances). We also derive that in this cluster the amount of mass lost along the asymptotic giant branch stars is comparable to the mass lost during the previous red giant branch phase. These results confirm, for this cluster, the disagreement between colour-magnitude-diagram analyses and inferences from recent studies of the dynamics of the cluster stars, which predict a much less efficient red giant branch mass loss. A comparison between the results from these two techniques applied to other clusters is required to gain more insights about the origin of this disagreement.
Key words: globular clusters: individual: 47 Tucanae / stars: evolution / stars: horizontal-branch / stars: low-mass / stars: mass-loss
© ESO, 2016
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