Lithium abundance in lower red giant branch stars of Omega Centauri

A. Mucciarelli, M. Salaris, L. Monaco, P. Bonifacio, X. Fu, S. Villanova

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15 Citations (Scopus)


We present Li, Na, Al, and Fe abundances of 199 lower red giant branch star members of the stellar system Omega Centauri, using high-resolution spectra acquired with FLAMES at the Very Large Telescope. The A(Li) distribution is peaked at A(Li) ∼ 1 dex with a prominent tail towards lower values. The peak of the distribution well agrees with the lithium abundances measured in lower red giant branch stars in globular clusters and Galactic field stars. Stars with A(Li) ∼ 1 dex are found at metallicities lower than [Fe/H] ∼ -1.3 dex but they disappear at higher metallicities. On the other hand, Li-poor stars are found at all metallicities. The most metal-poor stars exhibit a clear Li-Na anti-correlation, where about 30% of the sample have A(Li) lower than ∼0.8 dex, while these stars represent a small fraction of normal globular clusters. Most of the stars with [Fe/H] > -1.6 dex are Li poor and Na rich. The Li depletion measured in these stars is not observed in globular clusters with similar metallicities and we demonstrate that it is not caused by the proposed helium enhancements and/or young ages. Hence, these stars formed from a gas already depleted in lithium. Finally, we note that Omega Centauri includes all the populations (Li-normal/Na-normal, Li-normal/Na-rich, and Li-poor/Na-rich stars) observed, to a lesser extent, in mono-metallic GCs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number33457
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Globular clusters: individual: Omega Centauri
  • Stars: abundances
  • Stars: atmospheres
  • Stars: evolution
  • Stars: Population II

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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