Photospheric diagnostics of core helium burning in giant stars [SSA]

Core helium burning primary red clump (RC) stars are evolved red giant stars which are excellent standard candles. As such, these stars are routinely used to map the Milky Way or determine the distance to other galaxies among other things. However distinguishing RC stars from their less evolved precursors, namely red giant branch (RGB) stars, is still a difficult challenge and has been deemed the domain of asteroseismology. In this work, we use a sample of 1,676 RGB and RC stars which have both single epoch infrared spectra from the APOGEE survey and asteroseismic parameters and classification to show that the spectra alone can be used to (1) predict asteroseismic parameters with precision high enough to (2) distinguish core helium burning RC from other giant stars with less than 2% contamination. This will not only allow for a clean selection of a large number of standard candles across our own and other galaxies from spectroscopic surveys, but also will remove one of the primary roadblocks for stellar evolution studies of mixing and mass loss in red giant stars.

Read this paper on arXiv…

K. Hawkins, Y. Ting and H. Walter-Rix
Fri, 8 Dec 17

Comments: 8 pages, 7 figures, Accepted to ApJ