Context: Line asymmetries are generated by convective Doppler shifts in stellar atmospheres, especially in metal-poor stars, where convective motions penetrate to higher atmospheric levels. Such asymmetries are usually neglected in abundance analyses. The determination of the ^6Li/^7Li isotopic ratio is prone to suffering from such asymmetries, as the contribution of ^6Li is a slight blending reinforcement of the red wing of each component of the corresponding ^7Li line, with respect to its blue wing.
Aims: The present paper studies the halo star HD 74000 and estimates the impact of convection-related asymmetries on the Li isotopic ratio determination.
Methods: Two methods are used to meet this aim. The first, which is purely empirical, consists in deriving a template profile from another element that can be assumed to originate in the same stellar atmospheric layers as Li I, producing absorption lines of approximately the same equivalent width as individual components of the ^7Li I resonance line. The second method consists in conducting the abundance analysis based on NLTE line formation in a 3D hydrodynamical model atmosphere, taking into account the effects of photospheric convection.
Results: The results of the first method show that the convective asymmetry generates an excess absorption in the red wing of the ^7Li absorption feature that mimics the presence of ^6Li at a level comparable to the hitherto published values. This opens the possibility that only an upper limit on ^6Li/^7Li has thus far been derived. The second method confirms these findings.
Conclusions: From this work, it appears that a systematic reappraisal of former determinations of ^6Li abundances in halo stars is warranted.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- October 2007
- line: profiles;
- stars: abundances;
- stars: population II;
- stars: individual: HD 74000;
- Accepted for publication on A&