A new imprint of fast rotators: low 12C/13C ratios in extremely metal-poor halo stars

Astronomy and Astrophysics – Astrophysics

Scientific paper

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4 pages, 1 figure, letter accepted for publication in A&A

Scientific paper

10.1051/0004-6361:20078698

(abridged) Fast stellar rotation is currently the most promising mechanism for producing primary nitrogen in metal-poor massive stars. Chemical evolution models computed with the inclusion of the yields of fast rotating models at a metallicity $Z=10^{-8}$ can account for the high N/O abundances observed in normal metal-poor halo stars. If, as believed, intermediate mass stars did not have enough time to contribute to the interstellar medium enrichment at such low metallicities, the above result constitutes a strong case for the existence of fast rotators in the primordial Universe. An important result of stellar models of fast rotators is that large quantities of primary 13C are produced. Hence, our goal is to investigate the consequence of fast rotation on the evolution of the 12C/13C ratio in the interstellar medium at low metallicity. We predict that, if fast rotating massive stars were common phenomena in the early Universe, the primordial interstellar medium of galaxies with a star formation history similar to the one inferred for our galactic halo should have 12C/13C ratios between 30-300. Without fast rotators, the predicted 12C/13C ratios would be $\sim$ 4500 at [Fe/H]=-3.5, increasing to $\sim$ 31000 at around [Fe/H]=-5.0. Current data on very metal-poor giant normal stars in the galactic halo agree better with chemical evolution models including fast rotators. To test our predictions, challenging measurements of the 12C/13C in more extremely metal-poor giants and turnoff stars are required.

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