Unusual Isotopic Abundances in a Fully-Convective Stellar Binary.
Low-mass M dwarfs represent the most common outcome of star formation, but their complex emergent spectra hinder detailed studies of their composition and initial formation. The measurement of isotopic ratios is a key tool that has been used to unlock the formation of our Solar System, the Sun, and the nuclear processes within more massive stars. We observed GJ 745AB, two M dwarfs orbiting in a wide binary, with the IRTF/iSHELL spectrograph. Our spectroscopy of CO in these stars at the 4.7 micron fundamental and 2.3 micron first-overtone rovibrational bandheads reveals 12C16O, 13C16O, and 12C18O in their photospheres. Since the stars are fully convective, the atomic constituents of these isotopologues should be uniformly mixed throughout the stars' interiors. We find that in these M dwarfs, both 12C/13C and 16O/18O greatly exceed the Solar values. These measurements cannot be explained solely by models of Galactic chemical evolution, but require that the stars formed from an ISM significantly enriched by material ejected from an exploding core-collape supernova. These isotopic measurements complement the elemental abundances provided by large-scale spectroscopic surveys, and open a new window onto studies of Galactic evolution, stellar populations, and individual systems.
Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1901.02607
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