NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2013B-0279

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Proposal Information for 2013B-0279


PI: Geoffrey Clayton, Louisiana State University, gclayton@fenway.phys.lsu.edu
Address: Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, Nicholson Hall, Baton Rouge, LA, 70803, USA

CoI: Tom Geballe, Gemini Observatory
CoI: Douglas Welch, McMaster University
CoI: Patrick Tisserand, Australian National University

Title: Using 16O/18O to Determine the Evolutionary History of the R Coronae Borealis Stars

Abstract: Of the Galactic hydrogen-deficient carbon (HdC) and R Coronae Borealis (RCB) stars for which oxygen isotopic ratios can be measured, all of them show 16O/18O < 5, values that are orders of magnitude lower than measured in other stars (the Solar value is 500). This suggests that most if not all HdC and RCB stars are highly enriched in 18O. This is an important clue in determining the evolutionary pathways of HdC and RCB stars, for which two models have been proposed: the double degenerate (white dwarf (WD) merger), and the final helium-shell flash (FF). No overproduction of 18O is expected in the FF scenario. However, some RCB stars also show characteristics, such as 13C and Lithium, seen in FF stars. Therefore, we are conducting a survey all the RCB stars in the LMC and SMC for the characteristics of a WD merger or a FF. Most of the stars have been surveyed for 13C already and we plan to survey them for Lithium in the future. This proposal is to use Gemini/Flamingos-2 to survey all the stars, which are cool enough to show CO bands, for the presence of 18O near 2.3 micron. The Magellanic Clouds provide an unbiased, relatively complete sample of RCB stars which are at a known distance so their bolometric luminosities can be used in our stellar evolution models. This survey, combined with our models, will reveal the true fraction of RCB stars formed by each of the proposed scenarios.


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