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Title: Lithium in Turnoff Stars in the Globular Cluster M5: A Quest for Primordial Lithium

The light element lithium is formed by nucleosynthesis during the Big Bang. Its abundance can help to define the parameters of the early Universe. To find this primordial value, it is necessary to determine Li abundances in the oldest stars because it is readily destroyed by nuclear reactions in stellar interiors. We have made high-resolution (∼45,000) spectroscopic observations of five identical unevolved turnoff stars in the 13 Gyr old globular cluster M5. In our analysis we find a range in Li abundance of a factor of 2; the spread is 5 times the individual error. The comparison of these results with those for turnoff stars from five other globular clusters reveals a similarly large range in Li. Lithium in M5 and the other clusters all have stars above the field star Li plateau, but none are as high as the predictions for primordial Li. The maximum values for Li are the same in all six clusters. Multiple generations of stars are found in many globular clusters; those later generations are expected to have formed from Li-depleted gas. Such second- and later-generation stars would have no Li. However, only one of the six clusters has a few unevolved stars with upper limits on the Li abundance.

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DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
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The Astrophysical Journal
Medium: X Size: Article No. 91
["Article No. 91"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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