An assessment of Li abundances in weak-lined and classical T Tauri stars of the Taurus-Auriga association*
INAF – Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy e-mail: [sestito;palla;randich]@arcetri.astro.it
Accepted: 12 June 2008
Context. Accurate measurements of lithium abundances in young low-mass stars provide an independent and reliable age diagnostics. Previous studies of nearby star forming regions have identified significant numbers of Li-depleted stars, often at levels inconsistent with the ages indicated by their luminosity.
Aims. We aim at a new and accurate analysis of Li abundances in a sample of ~100 pre-main sequence stars in Taurus-Auriga using a homogeneous and updated set of stellar parameters and model atmospheres appropriate for the spectral types of the sample stars.
Methods. We compute Li abundances using published values of the equivalent widths of the Li λ6708 Å doublet obtained from medium/high resolution spectra.
Results. We find that the number of significantly Li-depleted stars in Taurus-Auriga is greatly reduced with respect to earlier results. Only 13 stars have abundances lower than the interstellar value by a factor of 5 or greater. All of them are weak-lined T Tauri stars drawn from X-ray surveys; with the exception of four stars located near the L1551 and L1489 dark clouds, all the Li-depleted stars belong to the class of dispersed low-mass stars, distributed around the main sites of current star formation. If located at the distance of Taurus-Auriga, the stellar ages implied by the derived Li abundances are in the range 3-30 Myr, greater than the bulk of the Li-rich population with implication on the star formation history of the region.
Conclusions. In order to derive firm conclusions about the fraction of Li-depleted stars of Taurus-Auriga, Li measurements of the remaining members of the association should be obtained, in particular of the group of stars that fall in the Li-burning region of the HR diagram.
Key words: stars: abundances / stars: evolution / stars: formation / open clusters and associations: individual: Taurus-Auriga
© ESO, 2008