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Proposal Information for 2010B-0259


PI: David L. Lambert, The University of Texas at Austin, dll@astro.as.utexas.edu
Address: The W. J. McDonald Observatory, 1 University Station, C1400, Austin, TX 78712, USA

CoI: N. Kameswara Rao, Indian Institute of Astrophysics
CoI: D. A. Garcia-Hernandez, IAC
CoI: Kenneth Hinkle, NOAO

Title: Exploring the Evolution of RCB stars from White Dwarf Mergers

Abstract: Phoenix spectra of C_2, CN, and CO lines will provide oxygen isotopic abundance ratios (^16O/^17O/^18O) and CNO abundances for cool R Coronae Borealis (RCB) stars. The ratios, especially the ^16O/^18O ratio, will be used to test the two leading scenarios for RCB production. These observations were prompted by Clayton et al.'s striking discovery of low ^16O/^18O (<1) ratios for H-deficient carbon (HdC) stars. This ratio requires the formation of HdC stars by the merger of two white dwarfs as some ^14N is burnt to ^18O. The HdC are possible immediate relatives of the RCBs. Yet, our Phoenix observations of a few cool RCBs give a higher ratio (^16O/^18O=16) than for the HdCs perhaps questioning a direct evolutionary connection between HdC and RCB stars. Also, our Phoenix CNO abundance analysis of HdCs shows the ^14N to ^18O conversion is far from complete. In this proposal, we seek to extend our CNO elemental and isotopic abundance analyses to more RCB stars in order to explore the evolutionary connection between HdC and RCB stars and to constrain the nucleosynthesis that occurs during the cannibalism of a He white dwarf by a C-O white dwarf.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



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