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 Physics , 2014, DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201423722 Abstract: A new scenario --early disc accretion-- has been recently proposed to explain the discovery of multiple stellar populations in Galactic globular clusters. According to this model, the existence of well defined (anti)-correlations amongst light element abundances (i.e. C, N, O, Na) in the photospheres of stars belonging to the same cluster (and the associated helium enrichment), is caused by accretion of the ejecta of short lived interacting massive binary systems (and single fast rotating massive stars) on fully convective pre-main sequence low- and very low-mass stars, during the early stages of the cluster evolution. We investigated the constraints provided by considering simultaneously the observed spread of lithium and oxygen (and when possible also sodium) abundances for samples of turn-off stars in NGC6752, NGC6121 (M4), and NGC104 (47Tuc), and the helium abundance of their multiple main sequences. These observations provide a very powerful test for the accretion scenario, because the observed O, Li and He abundance distributions at the turn off can be used to constrain the composition (and mass) of the accreted matter, and the timescales of the polluting stars. In case of NGC6752 we could not find a physically consistent solution. In case of M4, spectroscopic errors are too large compared to the intrinsic spread, to constrain the properties of the accreted matter. As for 47Tuc, we could find a physically consistent solution for the abundances of He and O (and Na) in the accreted gas, and predict the abundances of these elements in the accreted matter only if pollution happens with timescales of ~1 Myr, hence polluters are objects with masses of the order of several tens of solar masses (abridged).
 Physics , 2015, DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/808/2/124 Abstract: Helium is a pivotal element in understanding multiple main sequences and extended horizontal branches observed in some globular clusters. Here we present a spectroscopic study of helium in the nearby globular cluster M4. We have obtained spectra of the chromospheric He I 10830 A line in 16 red horizontal branch, red giant branch, and asymptotic giant branch stars. Clear He I absorption or emission is present in most of the stars. Effective temperature is the principal parameter that correlates with 10830 A line strength. Stars with T_eff < 4450 K do not exhibit the helium line. Red horizontal branch stars, which are the hottest stars in our sample, all have strong He I line absorption. A number of these stars show very broad 10830 A lines with shortward extensions indicating outflows as high as 80-100 km/s and the possibility of mass loss. We have also derived [Na/Fe] and [Al/Fe] abundances to see whether these standard tracers of "second generation" cluster stars are correlated with He I line strength. Unlike the case for our previous study of Omega Cen, no clear correlation is observed. This may be because the sample does not cover the full range of abundance variations found in M4, or simply because the physical conditions in the chromosphere, rather than the helium abundance, primarily determine the He I 10830 A line strength. A larger sample of high-quality He I spectra of both "first" and "second" generation red giants within a narrow range of T_eff and luminosity is needed to test for the subtle spectroscopic variations in He I expected in M4.
 Physics , 2013, DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/782/2/85 Abstract: Recent pieces of evidence have revealed that most, and possibly all, globular star clusters are composed of groups of stars that formed in multiple episodes with different chemical compositions. In this sense, it has also been argued that variations in the initial helium abundance ($Y$) from one population to the next are also the rule, rather than the exception. In the case of the metal-intermediate globular cluster M4 (NGC 6121), recent high-resolution spectroscopic observations of blue horizontal branch (HB) stars (i.e., HB stars hotter than the RR Lyrae instability strip) suggest that a large fraction of blue HB stars are second-generation stars formed with high helium abundances. In this paper, we test this scenario by using recent photometric and spectroscopic data together with theoretical evolutionary computations for different $Y$ values. Comparing the photometric data with the theoretically-derived color-magnitude diagrams, we find that the bulk of the blue HB stars in M4 have $\Delta Y \lesssim 0.01$ with respect to the cluster's red HB stars (i.e., HB stars cooler than the RR Lyrae strip)-- a result which is corroborated by comparison with spectroscopically derived gravities and temperatures, which also favor little He enhancement. However, the possible existence of a minority population on the blue HB of the cluster with a significant He enhancement level is also discussed.
 Physics , 2009, DOI: 10.1017/S1743921310002474 Abstract: Globular clusters (GCs) are spheroidal concentrations typically containing of the order of 10^5 to 10^6, predominantly old, stars. Historically, they have been considered as the closest counterparts of the idealized concept of "simple stellar populations." However, some recent observations suggest than, at least in some GCs, some stars are present that have been formed with material processed by a previous generation of stars. In this sense, it has also been suggested that such material might be enriched in helium, and that blue horizontal branch stars in some GCs should accordingly be the natural progeny of such helium-enhanced stars. In this contribution we show that, at least in the case of M3 (NGC 5272), the suggested level of helium enrichment is not supported by the available, high-precision observations.
 V. Caloi Physics , 2000, DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20000210 Abstract: We investigate the consequences of an increase in the envelope helium abundance of pre-helium flash red giants in globular clusters. Comparing predictions with the CM diagrams of a few crucial GC, one finds no evidence for a substantial increase in the surface helium content of HB members of these clusters, at least for objects in the RR Lyrae region or close to it. The possibility that the most peculiar giants belong to the asymptotic giant branch is discussed. The consequences of a delay in the helium flash are briefly examined.
 Physics , 1997, DOI: 10.1086/304379 Abstract: Using WFPC2 on the Hubble Space Telescope, we have isolated a sample of 258 white dwarfs (WDs) in the Galactic globular cluster M4. Fields at three radial distances from the cluster center were observed and sizeable WD populations were found in all three. The location of these WDs in the color-magnitude diagram, their mean mass of 0.51($\pm 0.03$)M$_{\odot}$, and their luminosity function confirm basic tenets of stellar evolution theory and support the results from current WD cooling theory. The WDs are used to extend the cluster main-sequence mass function upward to stars that have already completed their nuclear evolution. The WD/red dwarf binary frequency in M4 is investigated and found to be at most a few percent of all the main-sequence stars. The most ancient WDs found are about 9 Gyr old, a level which is set solely by the photometric limits of our data. Even though this is less than the age of M4, we discuss how these cooling WDs can eventually be used to check the turnoff ages of globular clusters and hence constrain the age of the Universe.
 Physics , 2002, DOI: 10.1086/367827 Abstract: We examine the theoretical implications of a population of low-mass helium-core white dwarfs in globular clusters. In particular, we focus on the observed population in the core of NGC 6397, where several low-mass white dwarf canditates have been identified as non-flickerers'' by Cool and collaborators. Age and mass estimates from cooling models, combined with dynamical and evolutionary considerations, lead us to infer that the dark binary companions are C/O white dwarfs rather than neutron stars. Furthermore, we find that the progenitor binaries very likely underwent an exchange interaction within the last 1.e9 years. We examine the prospects for detecting a similar population in other globular clusters, with particular attention to the case of 47 Tuc.
 Xiangdong Shi Physics , 1994, Abstract: The age of globular clusters inferred from observations depends sensitively on assumptions such as the initial helium abundance and the mass loss rate. A high helium abundance (e.g., $Y\approx$0.28), as well as an inclusion of helium diffusion and oxygen-enhancement in stellar models, can lower the current age estimate for metal-poor globular clusters from 14$\pm 1.5$ Gyr to about 11$\pm 1$ Gyr, significantly relaxing the constraints on the Hubble constant, allowing values as high as 60km/sec/Mpc for a universe with the critical density and 90km/sec/Mpc for a baryon-only universe. The uncertainties of a high helium abundance and an instability strip induced mass loss near the turn-off in globular clusters are discussed. Ages lower than 10 Gyr are not possible even with the operation of both of these mechanisms unless the initial helium abundance in globular clusters is $>0.28$, which can hardly be accomodated by indirect inferences of helium abundances in globular clusters.
 Physics , 2013, Abstract: Based on over 3000 BV images of M4 collected in years 1995-2009 we obtain light curves of 22 variables, 10 of which are newly detected objects. We identify four detached eclipsing binaries and eight contact binaries. Accurate periods are found for all but two variables. Nineteen variables are proper-motion members of the cluster, and the remaining three are field stars. Five variables are optical counterparts of X-ray sources. For one of the variables unassociated with X-ray sources we report a flare lasting for about 90 min and reaching an amplitude of 0.11 mag in V. One of the new contact binaries has a record-low mass ratio q=0.06. Another four such systems show season-to season luminosity variations probably related to magnetic activity cycles, whose lengths are surprisingly similar to that of the solar cycle despite a huge difference in rotational periods. The location of contact binaries on the color-magnitude diagram of M4 strongly suggests that at least in globular clusters the principal factor enabling EW systems to form from close but detached binaries is stellar evolution. We identify 46 blue and yellow stragglers in M4 and discuss their properties. We also derive a map of the differential extinction in the central part of M4, and determine the reddening of a selected reference region, E(B-V)= 0.392 mag.
 Physics , 2014, DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/795/1/34 Abstract: We investigate the enrichment in elements produced by the slow neutron-capture process ($s$-process) in the globular clusters M4 (NGC 6121) and M22 (NGC 6656). Stars in M4 have homogeneous abundances of Fe and neutron-capture elements, but the entire cluster is enhanced in $s$-process elements (Sr, Y, Ba, Pb) relative to other clusters with a similar metallicity. In M22, two stellar groups exhibit different abundances of Fe and $s$-process elements. By subtracting the mean abundances of $s$-poor from $s$-rich stars, we derive $s$-process residuals or empirical $s$-process distributions for M4 and M22. We find that the $s$-process distribution in M22 is more weighted toward the heavy $s$-peak (Ba, La, Ce) and Pb than M4, which has been enriched mostly with light $s$-peak elements (Sr, Y, Zr). We construct simple chemical evolution models using yields from massive star models that include rotation, which dramatically increases $s$-process production at low metallicity. We show that our massive star models with rotation rates of up to 50\% of the critical (break-up) velocity and changes to the preferred $^{17}$O($\alpha$,$\gamma$)$^{21}$Ne rate produce insufficient heavy $s$-elements and Pb to match the empirical distributions. For models that incorporate AGB yields, we find that intermediate-mass yields (with a $^{22}$Ne neutron source) alone do not reproduce the light-to-heavy $s$-element ratios for M4 and M22, and that a small contribution from models with a $^{13}$C pocket is required. With our assumption that $^{13}$C pockets form for initial masses below a transition range between 3.0 and 3.5 M$_\odot$, we match the light-to-heavy s-element ratio in the s-process residual of M22 and predict a minimum enrichment timescale of between 240 and 360 Myr. Our predicted value is consistent with the 300 Myr upper limit age difference between the two groups derived from isochrone fitting.
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