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Title: The CARMENES search for exoplanets around M dwarfs: Rubidium abundances in nearby cool stars
Authors: Abia, C.
Tabernero, H. M.
Korotin, S. A.
Montes, D.
Marfil, E.
Caballero, J. A.
Straniero, O.
Prantzos, N.
Ribas, I.
Reiners, A.
Quirrenbach, A.
Amado, P. J.
Béjar, V. J. S.
Cortés Contreras, M.
Dreizler, S.
Henning, T.
Jeffers, S. V.
Kaminski, A.
Kürster, M.
Lafarga, M.
López Gallifa, A.
Morales, J. C.
Nagel, E.
Passegger, V. M.
Pedraz, S.
Rodríguez López, C.
Schweitzer, A.
Zechmeister, M.
Keywords: Nuclear reactions;Nucleosynthesis;Abundances;Stars: abundances;Stars: late type
Issue Date: 23-Oct-2020
Publisher: EDP Sciences
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/202039032
Published version:
Citation: Astronomy and Astrophysics 642: A227(2020)
Abstract: Due to their ubiquity and very long main-sequence lifetimes, abundance determinations in M dwarfs provide a powerful and alternative tool to GK dwarfs to study the formation and chemical enrichment history of our Galaxy. In this study, abundances of the neutron-capture elements Rb, Sr, and Zr are derived, for the first time, in a sample of nearby M dwarfs. We focus on stars in the metallicity range − 0.5 ≲ [Fe/H] ≲ +0.3, an interval poorly explored for Rb abundances in previous analyses. To do this we use high-resolution, high-signal-to-noise-ratio, optical and near-infrared spectra of 57 M dwarfs observed with CARMENES. The resulting [Sr/Fe] and [Zr/Fe] ratios for most M dwarfs are almost constant at about the solar value, and are identical to those found in GK dwarfs of the same metallicity. However, for Rb we find systematic underabundances ([Rb/Fe] < 0.0) by a factor two on average. Furthermore, a tendency is found for Rb – but not for other heavy elements (Sr, Zr) – to increase with increasing metallicity such that [Rb/Fe] ≳ 0.0 is attained at metallicities higher than solar. These are surprising results, never seen for any other heavy element, and are difficult to understand within the formulation of the s- and r-processes, both contributing sources to the Galactic Rb abundance. We discuss the reliability of these findings for Rb in terms of non-LTE (local thermodynamic equilibrium) effects, stellar activity, or an anomalous Rb abundance in the Solar System, but no explanation is found. We then interpret the full observed [Rb/Fe] versus [Fe/H] trend within the framework of theoretical predictions from state-of-the-art chemical evolution models for heavy elements, but a simple interpretation is not found either. In particular, the possible secondary behaviour of the [Rb/Fe] ratio at super-solar metallicities would require a much larger production of Rb than currently predicted in AGB stars through the s-process without overproducing Sr and Zr.
E-ISSN: 1432-0746
ISSN: 0004-6361
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