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Astron. Astrophys. 330, 206-214 (1998)

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The survival of 205Pb in intermediate-mass AGB stars

N. Mowlavi 1, S. Goriely 2 and M. Arnould 2

1 Geneva Observatory, CH-1290 Sauverny, Switzerland
2 Institut d'Astronomie et d'Astrophysique, C.P. 226, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Bd. du Triomphe, B-1050 Bruxelles, Belgium

Received 7 July 1997 / Accepted 29 September 1997


The now extinct 205Pb is a pure s-process radionuclide ([FORMULA] y) of possible substantial cosmochemical interest. As a necessary complement to the detailed theoretical study of the nuclear physics and astrophysics aspects of the 205Pb - [FORMULA] pair carried out by Yokoi et al. (1985), and to the recent calculation of the 205Pb production in Wolf-Rayet stars by Arnould et al. (1997), this paper addresses for the first time in some detail the question of the survival of this radionuclide in thermally pulsing AGB stars. This problem is made difficult by the high sensitivity to temperature and density of the rates of the weak interaction processes that are able to produce or destroy 205Pb. In view of this sensitivity, a recourse to detailed stellar models is mandatory. With the help of some simplifying assumptions concerning in particular the third dredge-up characteristics, some of which (like its depth) being considered as free parameters, predictions are made for the 205Pb contamination of the stellar surface at the end of a pulse-interpulse cycle following a series of a dozen of pulses in three different intermediate-mass stars ([FORMULA] [FORMULA], [FORMULA] 0.02; [FORMULA] [FORMULA], [FORMULA] 0.02; [FORMULA] [FORMULA],Z = 0.001). It is concluded that the chances for a significant 205Pb surface enrichment are likely to increase with M for a given Z, or to increase with decreasing Z for a given M. More specifically, following the considered pulses at least, the enrichment appears to be rather unlikely in the [FORMULA] star with [FORMULA] 0.02, while it seems to be much more probable in the other two considered stars. It is also speculated that the ([FORMULA], [FORMULA] 0.02) star could possibly experience some 205Pb enrichment following later pulses than the ones considered in this paper.

Key words: nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis – stars: abundances; stars: AGB – stars: giant

Send offprint requests to: N. Mowlavi

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: January 8, 1998