Stragglers of the thick disc

5 Jun 2023  ·  Valeria Cerqui, Misha Haywood, Paola Di Matteo, David Katz, Frédéric Royer ·

Young alpha-rich (YAR) stars have been detected in the past as outliers to the local age $\rm-$ [$\alpha$/Fe] relation. These objects are enhanced in $\alpha$-elements but apparently younger than typical thick disc stars. We study the global kinematics and chemical properties of YAR giant stars in APOGEE DR17 survey and show that they have properties similar to those of the standard thick disc stellar population. This leads us to conclude that YAR are rejuvenated thick disc objects, most probably evolved blue stragglers. This is confirmed by their position in the Hertzsprung-Russel diagram (HRD). Extending our selection to dwarfs allows us to obtain the first general straggler distribution in an HRD of field stars. We also compare the elemental abundances of our sample with those of standard thick disc stars, and find that our YAR stars are shifted in oxygen, magnesium, sodium, and the slow neutron-capture element cerium. Although we detect no sign of binarity for most objects, the enhancement in cerium may be the signature of a mass transfer from an asymptotic giant branch companion. The most massive YAR stars suggest that mass transfer from an evolved star may not be the only formation pathway, and that other scenarios, such as collision or coalescence should be considered.

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Astrophysics of Galaxies Solar and Stellar Astrophysics