Helium settling in F stars: constraining turbulent mixing using observed helium glitch signature

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Recent developments in asteroseismology - due to space-based missions such as CoRoT and Kepler - provide handles on those properties of stars that were either completely inaccessible in the past or only poorly measured. Among several such properties is the surface helium abundance of F and G stars. We used the oscillatory signature introduced by the ionization of helium in the observed oscillation frequencies to constrain the amount of helium settling in F stars. For this purpose, we identified three promising F stars for which the standard models of atomic diffusion predict large settling (or complete depletion) of surface helium. Assuming turbulence at the base of envelope convection zone slows down settling of the helium and heavy elements, we found an envelope mixed mass of approximately 5 × 10-4 M⊙ necessary to reproduce the observed amplitude of helium signature for all the three stars. This is much larger than the mixed mass of the order of 10-6 M⊙ found in the previous studies performed using the measurements of the heavy element abundances. This demonstrates the potential of using the helium signature together with measurements of the heavy element abundances to identify the most important physical processes competing against atomic diffusion, allowing eventually to correctly interpret the observed surface abundances of hot stars, consistent use of atomic diffusion in modelling both hot and cool stars, and shed some light on the long-standing cosmological lithium problem.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Pages (from-to)1850-1858
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • asteroseismology, diffusion, stars: abundances, stars: chemically peculiar, stars: evolution, stars: interiors

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