The non-LTE line formation of neutral carbon in late-type stars
Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics, The Australian National University, Mount Stromlo Observatory, Cotter Road, Weston ACT 2611, Australia e-mail: email@example.com
2 Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics, University of Oslo, PO Box 1029, Blindern, 0315 Oslo, Norway
3 Center of Mathematics for Applications, University of Oslo, PO Box 1053 Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway
4 The Institute for Solar Physics of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, AlbaNova University Centre, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Accepted: 27 July 2006
Aims.We investigate the non-Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium (non-LTE) line formation of neutral carbon in late-type stars in order to remove some of the potential systematic errors in stellar abundance analyses employing C i features.
Methods.The statistical equilibrium code MULTI was used on a grid of plane-parallel 1D MARCS atmospheric models.
Results.Within the parameter space explored, the high-excitation C i lines studied are stronger in non-LTE due to the combined effect of line source function drop and increased line opacity due to overpopulation of the lower level for the transitions considered; the relative importance of the two effects depends on the particular combination of , log g, [Fe/H] and [C/Fe] and on the analysed C i line. As a consequence, the non-LTE abundance corrections are negative and can be substantially so, for example ∼-0.4 dex in halo turn-off stars at . The magnitude of the non-LTE corrections is rather insensitive to whether inelastic H collisions are included or not.
Conclusions.Our results have implications on studies of nucleosynthetic processes and on Galactic chemical evolution models. When applying our calculated corrections to recent observational data, the upturn in [C/O] at low metallicity might still be present (thus apparently still necessitating contributions from massive Pop. III stars for the carbon production), but at a lower level and possibly with a rather shallow trend of ∼-0.2 dex/dex below .
Key words: line: formation / stars: abundances / stars: late-type / Galaxy: abundances / Galaxy: evolution
© ESO, 2006