Lithium-rich giants in the Galactic thick disk

L. Monaco, S. Villanova, C. Moni Bidin, G. Carraro, D. Geisler, P. Bonifacio, O. A. Gonzalez, M. Zoccali, L. Jilkova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Context. Lithium is a fragile element, which is easily destroyed in the stellar interior. The existence of lithium-rich giants still represents a challenge for stellar evolution models. Aims. We have collected a large database of high-resolution stellar spectra of 824 candidate thick-disk giants having 2 MASS photometry and proper motions measured by the Southern Proper-Motion Program (SPM). In order to investigate the nature of Li-rich giants, we searched this database for giants presenting a strong Li I resonance line. Methods. We performed a chemical abundance analysis on the selected stars with the MOOG code along with proper ATLAS-9 model atmospheres. The iron content and atmospheric parameters were fixed by using the equivalent width of a sample of Fe lines. We also derive abundances for C, N, and O and measure or derive lower limits on the 12C/13C isotopic ratios, which is a sensible diagnostic of the stars evolutionary status. Results. We detected five stars with a lithium abundance higher than 1.5, i.e. Li-rich according to the current definition. One of them (SPM-313132) has A(Li) > 3.3 and, because of this, belongs to the group of the rare super Li-rich giants. Its kinematics makes it a likely thin-disk member and its atmospheric parameters are compatible with it being a 4 Ṁ star either on the red giant branch (RGB) or the early asymptotic giant branch. This object is the first super Li-rich giant detected at this phase. The other four are likely low-mass thick-disk stars evolved past the RGB luminosity bump, as determined from their metallicities and atmospheric parameters. The most evolved of them lies close to the RGB-tip. It has A(Li) > 2.7 and a low 12C/13C isotopic ratio, close to the cool bottom processing predictions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA90
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Galaxy: disk
  • Stars: abundances
  • Stars: atmospheres
  • Stars: chemically peculiar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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