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  Tidal Interactions between Binary Stars Can Drive Lithium Production in Low-mass Red Giants

Casey, A. R., Ho, A. Y. Q., Ness, M., Hogg, D. W., Rix, H.-W., Angelou, G. C., et al. (2019). Tidal Interactions between Binary Stars Can Drive Lithium Production in Low-mass Red Giants. The Astrophysical Journal, 880.

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 Creators:
Casey, Andrew R.1, Author
Ho, Anna Y. Q.1, Author
Ness, Melissa1, Author
Hogg, David W.1, Author
Rix, Hans-Walter1, Author
Angelou, George C.1, Author
Hekker, Saskia1, Author
Tout, Christopher A.1, Author
Lattanzio, John C.1, Author
Karakas, Amanda I.1, Author
Woods, Tyrone E.1, Author
Price-Whelan, Adrian M.1, Author
Schlaufman, Kevin C.1, Author
Affiliations:
1Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Max Planck Society and Cooperation Partners, ou_2421692              

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Free keywords: binaries: general stars: abundances stars: low-mass Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
 Abstract: Theoretical models of stellar evolution predict that most of the lithium inside a star is destroyed as the star becomes a red giant. However, observations reveal that about 1% of red giants are peculiarly rich in lithium, often exceeding the amount in the interstellar medium or predicted from the big bang. With only about 150 lithium-rich giants discovered in the past four decades, and no distinguishing properties other than lithium enhancement, the origin of lithium-rich giant stars is one of the oldest problems in stellar astrophysics. Here we report the discovery of 2330 low-mass (1─3 M ) lithium-rich giant stars, which we argue are consistent with internal lithium production that is driven by tidal spin-up by a binary companion. Our sample reveals that most lithium-rich giants have helium-burning cores ({80}-6+7 % ), and that the frequency of lithium- rich giants rises with increasing stellar metallicity. We find that while planet accretion may explain some lithium-rich giants, it cannot account for the majority that have helium-burning cores. We rule out most other proposed explanations for the origin of lithium-rich giants. Our analysis shows that giants remain lithium-rich for only about two million years. A prediction from this lithium depletion timescale is that most lithium-rich giants with a helium-burning core have a binary companion.

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 Dates: 2019
 Publication Status: Published in print
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Title: The Astrophysical Journal
Source Genre: Journal
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Pages: - Volume / Issue: 880 Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: - Identifier: -