The cosmological Li problem is the observed discrepancy between Li abundance (A(Li)) measured in Galactic dwarf, old and metal-poor stars (traditionally assumed to be equal to the initial value A(Li)0), and that predicted by standard big bang nucleosynthesis (BBN) calculations (A(Li)BBN). Here, we attack the Li problem by considering an alternative diagnostic, namely the surface Li abundance of red giant branch stars that in a colour-magnitude diagram populate the region between the completion of the first dredge-up and the red giant branch bump. We obtained high-resolution spectra with the FLAMES facility at the Very Large Telescope for a sample of red giants in the globular clusterM54, belonging to the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy. We obtain A(Li) = 0.93 ± 0.11 dex, translating - after taking into account the dilution due to the dredge-up - to initial abundances (A(Li)0) in the range 2.35-2.29 dex, depending on whether or not atomic diffusion is considered. This is the first measurement of Li in the Sagittarius galaxy and the more distant estimate of A(Li)0 in old stars obtained so far. The A(Li)0 estimated in M54 is lower by∼0.35 dex than A(Li)BBN, hence incompatible at a level of ∼3σ. Our result shows that this discrepancy is a universal problem concerning both the Milky Way and extragalactic systems. Either modifications of BBN calculations, or a combination of atomic diffusion plus a suitably tuned additional mixing during the main sequence, need to be invoked to solve the discrepancy.
Áreas temáticas de ASJC Scopus
- Astronomía y astrofísica
- Ciencias planetarias y espacial