Abundances in a sample of turnoff and subgiant stars in NGC 6121 (M 4)

M. Spite, F. Spite, A. J. Gallagher, L. Monaco, P. Bonifacio, E. Caffau, S. Villanova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Context. The stellar abundances observed in globular clusters show complex structures, currently not yet understood. Aims. The aim of this work is to investigate the relations between the abundances of different elements in the globular cluster M 4, selected for its uniform deficiency of iron, to explore the best models explaining the pattern of these observed abundances. Moreover, in turnoff stars, the abundances of the elements are not suspected to be affected by internal mixing. Methods. In M 4, using low and moderate resolution spectra obtained for 91 turnoff (and subgiant) stars with the ESO FLAMES-Giraffe spectrograph, we have extended previous measurements of abundances (of Li, C and Na) to other elements (C, Si, Ca, Sr and Ba), using model atmosphere analysis. We have also studied the influence of the choice of the microturbulent velocity. Results. Firstly, the peculiar turnoff star found to be very Li-rich in a previous paper does not show any other abundance anomalies relative to the other turnoff stars in M 4. Secondly, an anti-correlation between C and Na has been detected, the slope being significative at more than 3σ. This relation between C and Na is in perfect agreement with the relation found in giant stars selected below the RGB bump. Thirdly, the strong enrichment of Si and of the neutron-capture elements Sr and Ba, already observed in the giants in M 4, is confirmed. Finally, the relations between Li, C, Na, Sr and Ba constrain the enrichment processes of the observed stars. Conclusions. The abundances of the elements in the turnoff stars appear to be compatible with production processes by massive AGBs, but are also compatible with the production of second generation elements (like Na) and low Li produced by, for example, fast rotating massive stars.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA79
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • Galaxy: abundances
  • Galaxy: halo
  • Globular clusters: individual: M 4
  • Stars: abundances

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Abundances in a sample of turnoff and subgiant stars in NGC 6121 (M 4)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this