The Gaia-ESO Survey: Probing the lithium abundances in old metal-rich dwarf stars in the solar vicinity
Astronomy and Astrophysics
Context. Lithium (Li) is a fragile element that is produced in a variety of sites but can also be very easily depleted in stellar photospheres. Radial migration has been reported to explain the decrease in the upper envelope of Li measurements observed for relatively old metal-rich dwarf stars in some surveys. Aims. We test a scenario in which radial migration could affect the Li abundance pattern of dwarf stars in the solar neighbourhood. This may confirm that the Li abundances in these stars
... annot serve as a probe for the Li abundance in the interstellar medium (ISM). In other words, to probe the evolution of the Li abundance in the local ISM, it is crucial that stellar intruders be identified and removed from the adopted sample. Methods. We used the high-quality data (including Li abundances) from the sixth internal Data Release of the Gaia-ESO survey. In this sample we grouped stars by similarity in chemical abundances via hierarchical clustering. Our analysis treats both measured Li abundances and upper limits. Results. The Li envelope of the previously identified radially migrated stars is well below the benchmark meteoritic value (<3.26 dex); the star with the highest detected abundance has A(Li) = 2.76 dex. This confirms the previous trends observed for old dwarf stars (median ages ∼ 8 Gyr), where Li decreases for [Fe/H] 0. Conclusions. This result is supporting evidence that the abundance of Li measured in the upper envelope of old dwarf stars should not be considered a proxy for the ISM Li. Our scenario also indicates that the stellar yields for [M/H]>0 should not be decreased, as recently proposed in the literature. Our study backs recent studies that claim that old dwarfs on the hot side of the dip are efficient probes of the ISM abundance of Li, provided atomic diffusion does not significantly lower the initial Li abundance in the atmospheres of metal-rich objects.