Volume 639, July 2020
|Number of page(s)||10|
|Section||Galactic structure, stellar clusters and populations|
|Published online||03 July 2020|
The variation of carbon abundance in galaxies and its implications
INAF, Astrophysics and Space Science Observatory, Via Gobetti 93/3, 40129 Bologna, Italy
2 INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste, Via Tiepolo 11, 34131 Trieste, Italy
3 SISSA, Via Bonomea 265, 34136 Trieste, Italy
4 Dipartimento di Fisica, Sezione di Astronomia, Università di Trieste, Via Tiepolo 11, 34131 Trieste, Italy
5 Stellar Astrophysics Centre, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 120, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
6 INFN, Sezione di Trieste, Via Valerio 2, 34127 Trieste, Italy
Accepted: 11 May 2020
The trends of chemical abundances and abundance ratios observed in stars of different ages, kinematics, and metallicities bear the imprints of several physical processes which concur, thus shaping the host galaxy properties. By inspecting these trends, we obtain precious information on stellar nucleosynthesis, the stellar mass spectrum, the timescale of structure formation, the efficiency of star formation, as well as any inward or outward flows of gas. In this paper, we analyse recent determinations of carbon-to-iron and carbon-to-oxygen abundance ratios in different environments (the Milky Way and elliptical galaxies), using our latest chemical evolution models that implement up-to-date stellar yields and rely on the tight constraints provided by asteroseismic stellar ages, whenever available. A scenario where most carbon is produced by rotating massive stars, with yields largely dependent on the metallicity of the parent proto-star clouds, allowed us to simultaneously fit the high-quality data available for the local Galactic components (thick and thin discs) and for microlensed dwarf stars in the Galactic bulge, as well as the abundance ratios inferred for massive elliptical galaxies. Nevertheless, more efforts are needed from both observers and theoreticians in order to base these conclusions on firmer ground.
Key words: nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances / galaxies: abundances / galaxies: evolution
© ESO 2020
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