Rotation of Horizontal‐Branch Stars in Globular Clusters Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The rotation of horizontal branch stars places important constraints on angular momentum evolution in evolved stars and therefore rotational mixing on the giant branch. Prompted by new observations of rotation rates of horizontal branch stars, we calculate simple models for the angular momentum evolution of a globular cluster giant star from the base of the giant branch to the star's appearance on the horizontal branch. We include mass loss, and infer the accompanied loss of angular momentum for each of four assumptions about the internal angular momentum profile. These models are compared to observations of horizontal branch rotation rates in M13. We find that rapid rotation on the horizontal branch can be reconciled with slow solid body main sequence rotation if giant branch stars have differential rotation in their convective envelopes and a rapidly rotating core, which is then followed by a redistribution of angular momentum on the horizontal branch. We discuss the physical reasons why these very different properties relative to the solar case may exist in giants. Rapid rotation in the core of the main sequence precursors of the rapidly rotating horizontal branch star, or an angular momentum source on the giant branch is required for all cases if the rotational velocity of turnoff stars is less than 4 km s$^{-1}$. We suggest that the observed range in rotation rates on the horizontal branch is caused by internal angular momentum redistribution which occurs on a timescale comparable to the evolution of the stars on the horizontal branch. The apparent lack of rapid horizontal branch rotators hotter than 12 000 K in M13 could be a consequence of gravitational settling, which inhibits internal angular momentum transport. Alternative explanations and observational tests are discussed.

publication date

  • September 2000