Chemical evolution of the Galactic bulge as traced by microlensed dwarf and subgiant stars. III. Detection of lithium in the metal-poor bulge dwarf MOA-2010-BLG-285S
Context. To study the evolution of Li in the Galaxy it is necessary to observe dwarf or subgiant stars. These are the only long-lived stars whose present-day atmospheric chemical composition reflects their natal Li abundances according to standard models of stellar evolution. Although Li has been extensively studied in the Galactic disk and halo, to date there has only been one uncertain detection of Li in an unevolved bulge star.
Aims: Our aim with this study is to provide the first clear detection of Li in the Galactic bulge, based on an analysis of a dwarf star that has largely retained its initial Li abundance.
Methods: We performed a detailed elemental abundance analysis of the bulge dwarf star MOA-2010-BLG-285S using a high-resolution and high signal-to-noise spectrum obtained with the UVES spectrograph at the VLT when the object was optically magnified during a gravitational microlensing event (visual magnification A~550 during observation). The Li abundance was determined through synthetic line profile fitting of the 7Li resonance doublet line at 670.8 nm. The results have been corrected for departures from LTE.
Results: MOA-2010-BLG-285S is, at [Fe/H] = -1.23, the most metal-poor dwarf star detected so far in the Galactic bulge. Its old age (12.5 Gyr) and enhanced [α/Fe] ratios agree well with stars in the thick disk at similar metallicities. This star represents the first unambiguous detection of Li in a metal-poor dwarf star in the Galactic bulge. We find an NLTE corrected Li abundance of logɛ(Li) = 2.16, which is consistent with values derived for Galactic disk and halo dwarf stars at similar metallicities and temperatures.
Conclusions: Our results show that there are no signs of Li enrichment or production in the Galactic bulge during its earliest phases. Observations of Li in other galaxies (ω Cen) and other components of the Galaxy suggest further that the Spite plateau is universal.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- October 2010
- gravitational lensing: micro;
- Galaxy: bulge;
- Galaxy: formation;
- Galaxy: evolution;
- stars: abundances;
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies
- submitted to A&