The λ Bootis stars are Population I, late B- to early F-type stars, with moderate to extreme (up to a factor 100) surface underabundances of most Fe-peak elements and solar abundances of lighter elements (C, N, O and S). To put constraints on the various existing theories that try to explain these peculiar stars, we investigate the observational properties of λ Bootis stars compared with a reference sample of normal stars. Using various photometric systems and Hipparcos data, we analyse the validity of standard photometric calibrations, elemental abundances, and Galactic space motions. There crystallizes a clear picture of a homogeneous group of Population I objects found at all stages of their main-sequence evolution, with a peak at about 1 Gyr. No correlation of astrophysical parameters such as the projected rotational velocities or elemental abundances with age is found, suggesting that the a priori unknown mechanism, which creates λ Bootis stars, works continuously for late B- to early F-type stars in all stages of main-sequence evolution. Surprisingly, the sodium abundances seem to indicate an interaction between the stars and their local environment.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Pub Date:
- November 2002
- stars: chemically peculiar;
- stars: early-type;
- 14 pages, 9 figures, accepted by MNRAS