Branch Stars (branch + star)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Kinds of Branch Stars

  • asymptotic giant branch star
  • giant branch star
  • horizontal branch star

  • Selected Abstracts

    A search for circumstellar material around B-type stars in the Galactic halo

    H. R. M. Magee
    Abstract 19 B-type stars, selected from the Palomar,Green Survey, have been observed at infrared wavelengths to search for possible infrared excesses, as part of an ongoing programme to investigate the nature of early-type stars at high Galactic latitudes. The resulting infrared fluxes, along with Strömgren photometry, are compared with theoretical flux profiles to determine whether any of the targets show evidence of circumstellar material, which may be indicative of post-main-sequence evolution. Eighteen of the targets have flux distributions in good agreement with theoretical predictions. However, one star, PG 2120+062, shows a small near-infrared excess, which may be due either to a cool companion of spectral type F5,F7, or to circumstellar material, indicating that it may be an evolved object such as a post-asymptotic giant branch star, in the transition region between the asymptotic giant branch and planetary nebula phase, with the infrared excess due to recent mass loss during giant branch evolution. [source]

    Stardust in Antarctic micrometeorites

    Toru YADA
    The oxygen isotopic compositions of the eighteen presolar silicate (and one oxide) grains found are similar those observed previously in primitive meteorites and interplanetary dust particles, and indicate origins in oxygen-rich red giant or asymptotic giant branch stars, or in supernovae. Four grains with anomalous C isotopic compositions were also detected. 12C/13C as well as Si ratios are similar to those of mainstream SiC grains; the N isotopic composition of one grain is also consistent with a mainstream SiC classification. Presolar silicate grains were found in three of the seven AMMs studied, and are heterogeneously distributed within these micrometeorites. Fourteen of the 18 presolar silicate grains and 3 of the 4 C-anomalous grains were found within one AMM, T98G8. Presolar silicate-bearing micrometeorites contain crystalline silicates that give sharp X-ray diffractions and do not contain magnesiowüstite, which forms mainly through the decomposition of phyllosilicates and carbonates. The occurrence of this mineral in AMMs without presolar silicates suggests that secondary parent body processes probably determine the presence or absence of presolar silicates in Antarctic micrometeorites. [source]

    The stellar population content of the thick disc and halo of the Milky Way analogue NGC 891

    M. Rejkuba
    ABSTRACT We present deep VI images obtained with the Advanced Camera for Surveys on board the Hubble Space Telescope, covering three fields in the north-east side of the edge-on disc galaxy NGC 891. The observed fields span a wide range of galactocentric distances along the eastern minor axis, extending from the plane of the disc to 12 kpc, and out to ,25 kpc along the major axis. The photometry of individual stars reaches ,2.5 mag below the tip of the red giant branch. We use the astrophotometric catalogue to probe the stellar content and metallicity distribution across the thick disc and spheroid of NGC 891. The colour,magnitude diagrams of thick disc and spheroid population are dominated by old red giant branch stars with a wide range of metallicities, from the sparsely populated metal-poor tail at [Fe/H],,2.4 dex, up to about half-solar metallicity. The peak of the metallicity distribution function of the thick disc is at ,0.9 dex. The inner parts of the thick disc, within ,14 kpc along the major axis show no vertical colour/metallicity gradient. In the outer parts, a mild vertical gradient of ,(V,I)0/,|Z| = 0.1 ± 0.05 kpc,1 or less than 0.1 dex kpc,1 is detected, with bluer colours or more metal-poor stars at larger distances from the plane. This gradient is, however, accounted for by the mixing with the metal-poor halo stars. No metallicity gradient along the major axis is present for thick-disc stars, but strong variations of about 0.35 dex around the mean of [Fe/H]=,1.13 dex are found. The properties of the asymmetric metallicity distribution functions of the thick-disc stars show no significant changes in both the radial and the vertical directions. The stellar populations situated within the solar-cylinder-like distances show strikingly different properties from those of the Galaxy populating similar distances. This suggests that the accretion histories of both galaxies have been different. The spheroid population, composed of the inner spheroid and the halo, shows remarkably uniform stellar population properties. The median metallicity of the halo stellar population shows a shallow gradient from about ,1.15 dex in the inner parts to ,1.27 dex at 24 kpc distance from the centre, corresponding to ,13reff. Similar to the thick-disc stars, large variations around the mean relation are present. [source]

    A spectroscopic survey of EC4, an extended cluster in Andromeda's halo,

    M. L. M. Collins
    ABSTRACT We present a spectroscopic survey of candidate red giant branch stars in the extended star cluster, EC4, discovered in the halo of M31 from our Canada,France,Hawaii Telescope/MegaCam survey, overlapping the tidal streams, Streams ,Cp' and ,Cr'. These observations used the DEep Imaging Multi-Object Spectrograph mounted on the Keck II telescope to obtain spectra around the Caii triplet region with ,1.3 Å resolution. Six stars lying on the red giant branch within two core radii of the centre of EC4 are found to have an average vr=,287.9+1.9,2.4 km s,1 and ,v,corr = 2.7+4.2,2.7 km s,1, taking instrumental errors into account. The resulting mass-to-light ratio for EC4 is M/L = 6.7+15,6.7 M,/L,, a value that is consistent with a globular cluster within the 1, errors we derive. From the summed spectra of our member stars, we find EC4 to be metal-poor, with [Fe/H]=,1.6 ± 0.15. We discuss several formation and evolution scenarios which could account for our kinematic and metallicity constraints on EC4, and conclude that EC4 is most comparable with an extended globular cluster. We also compare the kinematics and metallicity of EC4 with Streams ,Cp' and ,Cr', and find that EC4 bears a striking resemblance to Stream ,Cp' in terms of velocity, and that the two structures are identical in terms of both their spectroscopic and photometric metallicities. From this, we conclude that EC4 is likely related to Stream ,Cp'. [source]

    An analysis of the composite stellar population in M32,

    P. Coelho
    ABSTRACT We obtained long-slit spectra of high signal-to-noise ratio of the galaxy M32 with the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph at the Gemini-North telescope. We analysed the integrated spectra by means of full spectral fitting in order to extract the mixture of stellar populations that best represents its composite nature. Three different galactic radii were analysed, from the nuclear region out to 2 arcmin from the centre. This allows us to compare, for the first time, the results of integrated light spectroscopy with those of resolved colour,magnitude diagrams from the literature. As a main result we propose that an ancient and an intermediate-age population co-exist in M32, and that the balance between these two populations change between the nucleus and outside one effective radius (1reff) in the sense that the contribution from the intermediate population is larger at the nuclear region. We retrieve a smaller signal of a young population at all radii whose origin is unclear and may be a contamination from horizontal branch stars, such as the ones identified by Brown et al. in the nuclear region. We compare our metallicity distribution function for a region 1 to 2 arcmin from the centre to the one obtained with photometric data by Grillmair et al. Both distributions are broad, but our spectroscopically derived distribution has a significant component with [Z/Z,],,1, which is not found by Grillmair et al. [source]

    Dust mass-loss rates from asymptotic giant branch stars in the Fornax and Sagittarius dwarf spheroidal galaxies

    Eric Lagadec
    ABSTRACT To study the effect of metallicity on the mass-loss rate of asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars, we have conducted mid-infrared photometric measurements of such stars in the Sagittarius and Fornax dwarf spheroidal galaxies with the 10-,m camera VISIR at the Very Large Telescope. We derive mass-loss rates for 29 AGB stars in Sgr dSph and two in Fornax. The dust mass-loss rates are estimated from the K,[9] and K,[11] colours. Radiative transfer models are used to check the consistency of the method. Published IRAS and Spitzer data confirm that the same tight correlation between K,[12] colour and dust mass-loss rates is observed for AGB stars from galaxies with different metallicities, i.e., the Galaxy, the Large Magellanic Clouds and the Small Magellanic Clouds. The derived dust mass-loss rates are in the range 5 × 10,10 to 3 × 10,8 M, yr,1 for the observed AGB stars in Sgr dSph and around 5 × 10,9 M, yr,1 for those in Fornax; while values obtained with the two different methods are of the same order of magnitude. The mass-loss rates for these stars are higher than the nuclear burning rates, so they will terminate their AGB phase by the depletion of their stellar mantles before their core can grow significantly. Some observed stars have lower mass-loss rates than the minimum value predicted by theoretical models. [source]

    Carbon-rich extremely metal poor stars: signatures of Population III asymptotic giant branch stars in binary systems

    Herbert H. B. Lau
    ABSTRACT We use the Cambridge stellar evolution code stars to model the evolution and nucleosynthesis of zero-metallicity intermediate-mass stars. We investigate the effect of duplicity on the nucleosynthesis output of these systems and the potential abundances of the secondaries. The surfaces of zero-metallicity stars are enriched in CNO elements after second dredge-up. During binary interaction, such as Roche lobe overflow or wind accretion, metals can be released from these stars and the secondaries enriched in CNO isotopes. We investigate the formation of the two most metal poor stars known, HE 0107,5240 and HE 1327,2326. The observed carbon and nitrogen abundances of HE 0107,5240 can be reproduced by accretion of material from the companion-enhanced wind of a 7-M, star after second dredge-up, though oxygen and sodium are underproduced. We speculate that HE 1327,2326, which is richer in nitrogen and strontium, may similarly be formed by wind accretion in a later asymptotic giant branch phase after third dredge-up. [source]

    Mass loss and yield uncertainty in low-mass asymptotic giant branch stars

    Richard J. Stancliffe
    ABSTRACT We investigate the uncertainty in surface abundances and yields of asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars. We apply three different mass-loss laws to a 1.5-M, star of metallicity Z= 0.008 at the beginning of the thermally pulsing-asymptotic giant branch (TP-AGB) phase. Efficient third dredge-up is found even at very low envelope mass, contrary to previous simulations with other evolution codes. We find that the yield of carbon is uncertain by about 15 per cent and for most other light elements the yield is uncertain at the level of 20,80 per cent. For iron group elements, the uncertainty varies from around 30 per cent for the more-abundant species to over a factor of 2 for the less-abundant radioactive species, like 60Fe. The post-AGB surface abundances for this mass and metallicity are much more uncertain due to the dilution of dredged-up material in differing envelope masses in the later stages of the models. Our results are compared to known planetary nebula and post-AGB abundances. We find that the models are mostly consistent with observations but we are unable to reproduce observations of some of the isotopes. [source]

    Kinematic structure in the Galactic halo at the North Galactic Pole: RR Lyrae and blue horizontal branch stars show different kinematics

    T. D. Kinman
    ABSTRACT Radial velocities and proper motions (derived from the GSC-II data base) are given for 38 RR Lyrae (RRL) stars and 79 blue horizontal branch (BHB) stars in a ,200 deg2 area around the North Galactic Pole (NGP). Both heliocentric (UVW) and galactocentric (VR, V,, Vz) space motions are derived for these stars using a homogeneous distance scale consistent with (m,M)0= 18.52 for the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). An analysis of the 26 RRL and 52 BHB stars whose height (Z) above the plane is less than 8 kpc shows that this halo sample is not homogeneous. Our BHB sample (like that of Sirko et al.) has a zero galactic rotation (V,) and roughly isotropic velocity dispersions. The RRL sample shows a definite retrograde rotation (V,=,95 ± 29 km s,1) and non-isotropic velocity dispersions. The combined BHB and RRL sample has a retrograde galactic rotation (V) that is similar to that found by Majewski for his sample of subdwarfs in Selected Area (SA) 57. The velocity dispersion of the RRL stars that have a positive W motion is significantly smaller than the dispersion of those ,streaming down' with a negative W. Also, the ratio of RRL to BHB stars is smaller for the sample that has positive W. Our halo sample occupies 10.4 kpc3 at a mean height of 5 kpc above the Galactic plane. In this volume, one component (rich in RRL stars) shows retrograde rotation and the streaming motion that we associate with the accretion process. The other component (traced by the BHB stars) shows essentially no rotation and less evidence of streaming. These two components have horizontal branch (HB) morphologies that suggest that they may be the field star equivalents of the young and old halo globular clusters, respectively. Clearly, it is quite desirable to use more than one tracer in any kinematic analysis of the halo. [source]

    Variability in red supergiant stars: pulsations, long secondary periods and convection noise

    L. L. Kiss
    ABSTRACT We study the brightness variations of galactic red supergiant stars using long-term visual light curves collected by the American Association of Variable Star Observers over the last century. The full sample contains 48 red semiregular or irregular variable stars, with a mean time-span of observations of 61 yr. We determine periods and period variability from analyses of power density spectra and time,frequency distributions. We find two significant periods in 18 stars. Most of these periods fall into two distinct groups, ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand days. Theoretical models imply fundamental, first and possibly second overtone mode pulsations for the shorter periods. Periods greater than 1000 d form a parallel period,luminosity relation that is similar to the long secondary periods of the asymptotic giant branch stars. A number of individual power spectra shows a single mode resolved into multiple peaks under a Lorentzian envelope, which we interpret as evidence for stochastic oscillations, presumably caused by the interplay of convection and pulsations. We find a strong 1/f noise component in the power spectra that is remarkably similar in almost all stars of the sample. This behaviour fits the picture of irregular photometric variability caused by large convection cells, analogous to the granulation background seen in the Sun. [source]

    Integrated-light VRI imaging photometry of globular clusters in the Magellanic Clouds

    Paul Goudfrooij
    ABSTRACT We present accurate integrated-light photometry in Johnson/Cousins V, R and I for a sample of 28 globular clusters in the Magellanic Clouds. The majority of the clusters in our sample have reliable age and metallicity estimates available in the literature. The sample encompasses ages between 50 Myr and 7 Gyr, and metallicities ([Fe/H]) between ,1.5 and 0.0 dex. The sample is dominated by clusters of ages between roughly 0.5 and 2 Gyr, an age range during which the bolometric luminosity of simple stellar populations is dominated by evolved red giant branch stars and thermally pulsing asymptotic giant branch (TP-AGB) stars whose theoretical colours are rather uncertain. The VRI colours presented in this paper have been used to calibrate stellar population synthesis model predictions. [source]

    Testing stellar population models with star clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud

    Michael A. Beasley
    Abstract We present high signal-to-noise ratio integrated spectra of 24 star clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), obtained using the FLAIR spectrograph at the UK Schmidt telescope. The spectra have been placed on to the Lick/IDS system in order to test the calibration of Simple Stellar Population (SSP) models. We have compared the SSP-predicted metallicities of the clusters with those from the literature, predominantly taken from the Ca-triplet spectroscopy of Olszewski et al. (1991). We find that there is good agreement between the metallicities in the range ,2.10 ,[Fe/H], 0. However, the Mg2 index (and to a lesser degree Mg b) systematically predict higher metallicities (up to +0.5 dex higher) than ,Fe,. Among the possible explanations for this are that the LMC clusters possess [,/Fe] > 0. Metallicities are presented for eleven LMC clusters which have no previous measurements. We compare SSP ages for the clusters, derived from the H,, H, and H, Lick/IDS indices, with the available literature data, and find good agreement for the vast majority. This includes six old globular clusters in our sample, which have ages consistent with their HST colour-magnitude diagram (CMD) ages and/or integrated colours. However, two globular clusters, NGC 1754 and NGC 2005, identified as old (,15 Gyr) on the basis of HST CMDs, have H, line-strengths which lead ages that are too low (,8 and ,6 Gyr respectively). These findings are inconsistent with their CMD-derived values at the 3, level. Comparison between the horizontal branch morphology and the Balmer line strengths of these clusters suggests that the presence of blue horizontal branch stars has increased their Balmer indices by up to ,1.0 Å. We conclude that the Lick/IDS indices, used in conjunction with contemporary SSP models, are able to reproduce the ages and metallicities of the LMC clusters reassuringly well. The required extrapolations of the fitting functions and stellar libraries in the models to lower ages and low metallicities do not lead to serious systematic errors. However, owing to the significant contribution of horizontal branch stars to Balmer indices, SSP model ages derived for metal-poor globular clusters are ambiguous without a priori knowledge of horizontal branch morphology. [source]

    On the reliability of the semi-empirical RR Lyrae period,V -band luminosity,blue amplitude relation

    R. De Santis
    Abstract We investigate the accuracy and reliability of the semi-empirical period,V -band luminosity,blue amplitude (PLA) relationship for ab-type RR Lyrae stars originally obtained by Castellani and De Santis in the mid-1990s. We infer that the zero-point of this relationship depends on the metallicity, by studying a sample of both field and cluster variables. We also show that the use of this relationship can still be useful for those stellar systems showing an intrinsic metallicity spread, since in this case the metallicity has a negligible effect on the final distance modulus estimate. We compare the adopted semi-empirical relationship with the fully empirical one recently provided by Kovács & Walker. When the zero-point of the latter relation is fixed consistently with the former one, the two equations are equivalent. By applying the semi-empirical period,V -band luminosity,blue amplitude relation, as well as the technique proposed recently by Cassisi, De Santis & Piersimoni, to the globular cluster , Cen, we show that the empirical slope of the relationship between the mass of the fundamental RR Lyrae pulsators and their metallicity is in fair agreement with the one predicted by updated evolutionary models for horizontal branch stars. [source]

    Spatial and velocity clumping in a Sloan Digital Sky Survey blue horizontal branch star catalogue

    L. Clewley
    ABSTRACT We present evidence for eight new clumps of blue horizontal branch stars discovered in a catalogue of these stars compiled from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey by Sirko et al. and published in 2004. Clumps are identified by selecting pairs of stars separated by distances ,2 kpc and with differences in galactocentric radial velocities <25 km s,1. Each clump contains four or more stars. Four of the clumps have supporting evidence: two of them also contain overdensities of RR Lyrae stars which makes their reality very likely. At least one of the clumps is likely to be associated with the tidal debris of the Sagittarius dwarf spheroidal galaxy. We emphasize that more accurate observations of the radial velocities or proper motions of the stars in the clumps, as well as the identification of other halo stars in these regions, are required to establish the reality of the remaining clumps. [source]