Correlation between technetium and lithium in a sample of oxygen-rich AGB variables*
Instituut voor Sterrenkunde, K. U. Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200D, 3000 Leuven,
Belgium e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Department of Astronomy, University of Vienna, Türkenschanzstraße 17, 1180 Vienna, Austria e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 27 October 2009
Context. The elements technetium and lithium are two important indicators of internal nucleosynthesis and mixing in late-type stars. Studying their occurrence and abundance can give deep insight into the structure and evolution in the late phases of the stellar life cycle.
Aims. The aims of this paper are: 1) to revisit the Tc content of a sample of oxygen-rich (M-type) asymptotic giant branch (AGB) variables and 2) to increase the number of such stars for which the Li abundance has been measured to provide constraints on the theoretical models of extra-mixing processes.
Methods. To this end, we analysed high-resolution spectra of 18 sample stars for the presence of absorption lines of Tc and Li. The abundance of the latter was determined by comparing the observed spectra to hydrostatic MARCS model spectra. Bolometric magnitudes were established from near-IR photometry and pulsation periods.
Results. We correct the classification with respect to the presence of Tc for a number of stars. We reclassify the star V441 Cyg as Tc-rich, and the unusual Mira star R Hya, as well as W Eri, as Tc-poor. The abundance of Li, or an upper limit to it, was determined for all of the sample stars. In all stars with Tc we also detected Li. Most of them have a Li content slightly below the solar photospheric value, except for V441 Cyg, which is super-Li rich with ~1000 times the solar abundance. We also found that, similar to Tc, a lower luminosity limit seems to exist for the presence of Li.
Conclusions. We conclude that the higher Li abundance found in the cooler and higher luminosity objects could stem from a Li production mechanism operating on the thermally pulsing AGB. The stellar mass might have a crucial influence on this (extra mixing) production mechanism. Our findings for R Hya and V441 Cyg have some important consequences for these intriguing objects. It was speculated that the declining pulsation period of R Hya is caused by a recent thermal pulse (TP). While not detecting Tc does not rule out a TP, it indicates that the TPs are not strong enough to drive 3DUP in R Hya. The pieces of evidence concerning the mass of V441 Cyg are not entirely conclusive. It could either be a low-mass, intrinsic S-star that produced its large amount of Li by extra-mixing processes, or an intermediate-mass star () undergoing Li production via hot bottom burning.
Key words: stars: AGB and post-AGB / stars: abundances / stars: evolution / stars: interiors / stars: individual: R Hya / stars: individual: V441 Cyg
© ESO, 2010