Exploring circumstellar effects on the lithium and calcium abundances in massive Galactic O-rich AGB stars

V. Pérez-Mesa, O. Zamora, D. A. García-Hernández, Y. Osorio, T. Masseron, B. Plez, A. Manchado, A. I. Karakas, M. Lugaro

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Context. We previously explored the circumstellar effects on Rb and Zr abundances in a sample (21) of massive Galactic O-rich asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars. Here we are interested in clarifying the role of the extended atmosphere in the case of Li and Ca. Li is an important indicator of hot bottom burning while the total Ca abundances in these stars could be affected by neutron captures. Aims. We report new Li and Ca abundances in a larger sample (30) of massive Galactic O-rich AGB stars by using more-realistic extended model atmospheres. Li abundances had previously studied with hydrostatic models, while the Ca abundances have been determined here for the first time. Methods. We used a modified version of the spectral synthesis code Turbospectrum and consider the presence of a gaseous circumstellar envelope and radial wind in the modelling of the spectra of these massive AGB stars. The Li and Ca abundances were obtained from the 6708 Å Li I and 6463 Å Ca I resonance lines, respectively. In addition, we studied the sensitivity of the pseudo-dynamical models to variations of the stellar and wind parameters. Results. The Li abundances derived with the pseudo-dynamical models are very similar to those obtained from hydrostatic models (the average difference is 0.18 dex, σ2 = 0.02), with no difference for Ca. This indicates that the Li and Ca content in these stars is only slightly affected by the presence of a circumstellar envelope. We also found that the Li I and Ca I line profiles are not very sensitive to variations of the model wind parameters. Conclusions. The new Li abundances confirm the Li-rich (and super Li-rich, in some cases) nature of the sample stars, supporting the activation of hot bottom burning in massive Galactic AGB stars. This is in good agreement with the theoretical predictions for solar metallicity AGB models from ATON, Monash, and NuGrid/MESA but is at odds with the FRUITY database, which predicts no hot bottom burning leading to the production of Li. Most (20) sample stars display nearly solar (within the estimated errors and considering possible non-local thermodynamic equilibrium effects) Ca abundances that are consistent with the available s-process nucleosynthesis models for solar metallicity massive AGB stars, which predict overproduction of 46Ca relatively to the other Ca isotope and the creation of the radioactive isotope 41Ca (half life of 0.1 Myr) but no change in the total Ca abundance. A minority (five) of the sample stars seem to show a significant Ca depletion (by up to 1.0 dex). Possible explanations are offered to explain their apparent and unexpected Ca depletion.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA151
Number of pages13
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • Nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances
  • Stars: abundances
  • Stars: AGB and post-AGB
  • Stars: atmospheres
  • Stars: evolution
  • Stars: late-type

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