Population synthesis to constrain Galactic and stellar physics
I. Determining age and mass of thin-disc red-giant stars
Institut UTINAM, CNRS UMR 6213, Univ. Bourgogne Franche-Comté, OSU THETA Franche-Comté-Bourgogne, Observatoire de Besançon, BP 1615, 25010 Besançon Cedex, France
Received: 14 December 2016
Accepted: 5 February 2017
Context. The cornerstone mission of the European Space Agency, Gaia, together with forthcoming complementary surveys (CoRoT, Kepler, K2, APOGEE, and Gaia-ESO), will revolutionize our understanding of the formation and history of our Galaxy, providing accurate stellar masses, radii, ages, distances, as well as chemical properties for a very large sample of stars across different Galactic stellar populations.
Aims. Using an improved population synthesis approach and new stellar evolution models we attempt to evaluate the possibility of deriving ages and masses of clump stars from their chemical properties.
Methods. A new version of the Besançon Galaxy models (BGM) is used in which new stellar evolutionary tracks are computed from the stellar evolution code STAREVOL. These provide global, chemical, and seismic properties of stars from the pre-main sequence to the early-AGB. For the first time, the BGM can explore the effects of an extra-mixing occurring in red-giant stars. In particular we focus on the effects of thermohaline instability on chemical properties as well as on the determination of stellar ages and masses using the surface [C/N] abundance ratio.
Results. The impact of extra-mixing on 3He, 12C/13C, nitrogen, and [C/N] abundances along the giant branch is quantified. We underline the crucial contribution of asteroseismology to discriminate between evolutionary states of field giants belonging to the Galactic disc. The inclusion of thermohaline instability has a significant impact on 12C/13C, 3He as well as on the [C/N] values. We clearly show the efficiency of thermohaline mixing at different metallicities and its influence on the determined stellar mass and age from the observed [C/N] ratio. We then propose simple relations to determine ages and masses from chemical abundances according to these models.
Conclusions. We emphasize the usefulness of population synthesis tools to test stellar models and transport processes inside stars. We show that transport processes occurring in red-giant stars should be taken into account in the determination of ages for future Galactic archaeology studies.
Key words: Galaxy: stellar content / Galaxy: abundances / asteroseismology / stars: evolution / stars: abundances / Galaxy: evolution
© ESO, 2017