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2010AJ....139.2374S - Astron. J., 139, 2374-2409 (2010/June-0)

A re-evaluation of the evolved stars in the globular cluster M13.


Abstract (from CDS):

We have analyzed photometry from space- and ground-based cameras to identify all bright red giant branch (RGB), horizontal branch (HB), and asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars within 10' of the center of the globular cluster M13. We identify a modest (7%) population of HB stars redder than the primary peak (including RR Lyrae variables at the blue end of the instability strip) that is somewhat more concentrated to the cluster core than the rest of the evolved stars. We find support for the idea that they are noticeably evolved and in the late stages of depleting helium in their cores. This resolves a disagreement between distance moduli derived from the tip of the RGB and from stars in or near the RR Lyrae instability strip. We identified disagreements between HB model sets on whether stars with Teff≲ 10, 000 K (near the "knee" of the HB in optical CMDs) should evolve redward or blueward, and the differences may depend on the inclusion of diffusion in the stellar interior. The sharp cut at the red end of M13's HB provides strong evidence that stars from the dominant HB group still must be undergoing blue loops, which implies that diffusion is being inhibited. We argue that M13's HB is a somewhat pathological case–the dominant HB population occurs very near the "knee" in optical CMDs, and evolved stars exclusively appear redward of that peak, leading to the incorrect appearance of a continuation of the unevolved HB. We identify two stars as "blue hook" star candidates–the faintest stars in optical bands that remain significantly subluminous in the shortest ultraviolet wavelength photometry available. M13 also has a distinct group of stars previously identified with the "second U jump." Based on far-UV photometry, we find that these stars have genuinely high temperatures (probably 26,000 K ≲Teff≲ 31, 000 K), and are not produced by a jump in brightness at lower temperature (Teff~ 22, 000 K) as previously suggested. These stars are brighter than other stars of similar color (either redder or bluer), and may be examples of "early hot flashers" that ignite core helium fusion shortly after leaving the RGB. We used ultraviolet photometry to identify hot post-HB stars, and based on their numbers (relative to canonical AGB stars) we estimate the position on the HB where the morphology of the post-HB tracks change to I ∼ 17.3, between the two peaks in the HB distribution. Concerning the possibility of helium enrichment in M13, we revisited the helium-sensitive R ratio, applying a new method for correcting star counts for larger lifetimes of hot HB stars. We find that M13's R ratio is in agreement with theoretical values for primordial helium abundance YP= 0.245 and inconsistent with a helium enhancement ΔY = 0.04. The brightness of the HB (both in comparison to the end of the canonical HB and to the tip of the RGB) also appears to rule out the idea that the envelopes of the reddest HB stars have been significantly enriched in helium. The absolute colors of the turnoffs of M3 and M13 potentially may be used to look for differences in their mean helium abundances, but there are inconsistencies in current data sets between colors using different filters that prevent a solid conclusion. The numbers of stars on the lower RGB and in the red giant bump agree very well with recent theoretical models, although there are slight indications of a deficit of red giant stars above the bump. There is not convincing evidence that a large fraction of stars leave the RGB before undergoing a core helium flash.

Abstract Copyright:

Journal keyword(s): globular clusters: individual: M13 - Hertzsprung-Russell and C-M diagrams - stars: AGB and post-AGB - stars: evolution - stars: horizontal-branch - ultraviolet: stars

VizieR on-line data: <Available at CDS (J/AJ/139/2374): table3.dat table4.dat table5.dat table6.dat table7.dat>

Nomenclature: Table 3: [SGL2010] HB NNN (Nos 1-792), [SGL2010] AGB NN (Nos 1-84), [SGL2010] RGB NNN (Nos 1-641).

Status at CDS : All or part of tables of objects will not be ingested in SIMBAD.

Simbad objects: 34

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