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Cannibals in the thick disk: The young α-rich stars as evolved blue stragglers

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Jofré, P 
Jorissen, A 
Van Eck, S 
Izzard, RG 
Masseron, T 


Spectro-seismic measurements of red giants enabled the recent discovery of stars in the thick disk that are more massive than 1.4 M. While it has been claimed that most of these stars are younger than the rest of the typical thick disk stars, we show evidence that they might be products of mass transfer in binary evolution, notably evolved blue stragglers. We took new measurements of the radial velocities in a sample of 26 stars from APOKASC, including 13 “young” stars and 13 “old” stars with similar stellar parameters but with masses below 1.2 M and found that more of the young starsappear to be in binary systems with respect to the old stars.Furthermore, we show that the young stars do not follow the expected trend of [C/H] ratios versus mass for individual stars. However, with a population synthesis of low-mass stars including binary evolution and mass transfer, we can reproduce the observed [C/N] ratios versus mass. Our study shows how asteroseismology of solar-type red giants provides us with a unique opportunity to study the evolution of field blue stragglers after they have left the main-sequence.



stars: evolution, blue stragglers, Galaxy: stellar content, binaries: general, binaries: spectroscopic

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Astronomy and Astrophysics

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EDP Sciences
Science and Technology Facilities Council (ST/L003910/1)
European Research Council (320360)
This work was partly supported by the European Union FP7 programme through ERC grant number 320360. P.J. acknowledges King’s College Cambridge for partially supporting this work. K.H. is supported by Marshall Scholarship and King’s College Cambridge Studenship. R.J.I. thanks the STFC for funding his Rutherford Fellowship. Based on observations made with the Mercator Telescope, operated on the island of La Palma by the Flemish Community, at the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofí sica de Canarias. Based on observations obtained with the HERMES spectrograph, which is supported by the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO), Belgium, the Research Council of KU Leuven, Belgium, the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (F.R.S. – FNRS), Belgium, the Royal Observatory of Belgium, the Observatoire de Genève, Switzerland and the Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg, Germany.