Volume 625, May 2019
|Number of page(s)||15|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||27 May 2019|
Constraining mixing in massive stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud⋆
Argelander-Institut für Astronomie, Universität Bonn, Auf dem Hügel 71, 53121 Bonn, Germany
Accepted: 25 March 2019
Context. The evolution of massive stars is strongly influenced by internal mixing processes such as semiconvection, convective core overshooting, and rotationally induced mixing. None of these processes are currently well constrained.
Aims. We investigate models for massive stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), for which stellar-wind mass loss is less important than for their metal-rich counterparts. We aim to constrain the various mixing efficiencies by comparing model results to observations.
Methods. For this purpose, we use the stellar-evolution code MESA to compute more than 60 grids of detailed evolutionary models for stars with initial masses of 9…100 M⊙, assuming different combinations of mixing efficiencies of the various processes in each grid. Our models evolve through core hydrogen and helium burning, such that they can be compared with the massive main sequence and supergiant population of the SMC.
Results. We find that for most of the combinations of the mixing efficiencies, models in a wide mass range spend core-helium burning either only as blue supergiants, or only as red supergiants. The latter case corresponds to models that maintain a shallow slope of the hydrogen/helium (H/He) gradient separating the core and the envelope of the models. Only a small part of the mixing parameter space leads to models that produce a significant number of blue and red supergiants, which are both in abundance in the SMC. Some of our grids also predict a cut-off in the number of red supergiants above log L/L⊙ = 5…5.5. Interestingly, these models contain steep H/He gradients, as is required to understand the hot, hydrogen-rich Wolf-Rayet stars in the SMC. We find that unless it is very fast, rotation has a limited effect on the H/He profiles in our models.
Conclusions. While we use specific implementations of the considered mixing processes, they comprehensively probe the two first-order structural parameters, the core mass and the H/He gradient in the core-envelope interface. Our results imply that in massive stars, mixing during the main-sequence evolution leads to a moderate increase in the helium core masses, and also that the H/He gradients above the helium cores become very steep. Our model grids can be used to further refine the various mixing efficiencies with the help of future observational surveys of the massive stars in the SMC, and thereby help to considerably reduce the uncertainties in models of massive star evolution.
Key words: stars: massive / stars: early-type / stars: Wolf-Rayet / stars: interiors / stars: rotation / stars: evolution
Tables of evolutionary tracks are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (220.127.116.11) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/625/A132
© ESO 2019
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