Thursday, June 20, 2013

1306.4528 (P. de Laverny et al.)

Fluorine abundances and the puzzle of globular cluster chemical history    [PDF]

P. de Laverny, A. Recio-Blanco
The abundance of fluorine in a few Galactic globular clusters is known to strongly vary from star-to-star. These unexpected chemical properties are an additional confirmation of the chemical inhomogeneities already found in several GC, and probably caused by the first generations of stars formed in these systems. The aim of this article is to complement our understanding of the F-behaviour in GC stars and to look for new constraints on the formation histories of their multiple stellar populations. We have collected near-IR spectra of 15 RGB stars belonging to GC spanning a wide range of metallicity: 47 Tuc, M4, NGC6397 and M30. F, Na and Fe abundances have been estimated by spectral synthesis. No anticorrelation between F and Na abundances are found for the most metal-rich cluster of the sample (47 Tuc). In this GC, RGB stars indeed exhibit rather small differences in [F/Fe] unlike the larger ones found for the [Na/Fe] ratios. This reveals a rather inhomogeneous stellar system and a complex chemical evolution history for 47 Tuc . In M4, one star of our study confirms the previous Na-F distribution reported by another group in 2005. For the two very metal-poor GC (NGC6397 and M30), only upper limits of F abundances have been derived. We show that F abundances could be estimated in such metal-poor GC with current telescopes and spectrographs only if unexpected F-rich giants are found and/or exceptional observational conditions are met. The distribution of the F and Na abundances in GC reveal that their RGB members seem to belong to two well-separated regions. All the RGB stars analysed so far in the different GC are indeed found to be either F-rich Na-poor or F-poor Na-rich. Such well-separated bimodal regimes are consistent with the separate formation episodes suspected in most galactic GC.
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