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  1. Context. Rubidium is one of the few elements produced by the neutron capture s - and r -processes in almost equal proportions. Recently, a Rb deficiency ([Rb/Fe] < 0.0), amounting to a factor of about two with respect to the Sun, has been found in M dwarfs of near-solar metallicity. This stands in contrast to the close-to-solar [Sr, Zr/Fe] ratios derived in the same stars. This deficiency is difficult to understand from the point of view of observations and of nucleosynthesis. Aims. To test the reliability of this Rb deficiency, we study the Rb and Zr abundances in a sample of KM-type giant stars across a similar metallicity range, extracted from the AMBRE Project. Methods. We used high-resolution and high signal-to-noise spectra to derive Rb and Zr abundances in a sample of 54 bright giant stars with metallicities in the range of −0.6 ≲ [Fe/H] ≲ +0.4 dex, via spectral synthesis in both local and non-local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE and NLTE, respectively). We also studied the impact of the Zeeman broadening in the profile of the Rb  I at λ 7800 Å line. Results. The LTE analysis also results in a Rb deficiency in giant stars, however, it is considerablymore »lower than that obtained in M dwarfs. However, once NLTE corrections are performed, the [Rb/Fe] ratios are very close to solar (average −0.01 ± 0.09 dex) in the full metallicity range studied here. This stands in contrast to the value found for M dwarfs. The [Zr/Fe] ratios derived are in excellent agreement with those obtained in previous studies in FGK dwarf stars with a similar metallicity. We investigate the effect of gravitational settling and magnetic activity as possible causes of the Rb deficiency found in M dwarfs. Although the former phenomenon has a negligible impact on the surface Rb abundance, the presence of an average magnetic field with an intensity that is typical of that observed in M dwarfs may result in systematic Rb abundance underestimations if the Zeeman broadening is not considered in the spectral synthesis. This may explain the Rb deficiency in M dwarfs, but not fully. On the other hand, the new [Rb/Fe] and [Rb/Zr] versus [Fe/H] relationships can be explained when the Rb production by rotating massive stars and low-to-intermediate mass stars (these latter also producing Zr) are considered, without the need to deviate from the standard s -process nucleosynthesis in asymptotic giant branch stars, as suggested previously.« less
  2. Abstract The decomposition of the Solar system abundances of heavy isotopes into their s- and r- components plays a key role in our understanding of the corresponding nuclear processes and the physics and evolution of their astrophysical sites. We present a new method for determining the s- and r- components of the Solar system abundances, fully consistent with our current understanding of stellar nucleosynthesis and galactic chemical evolution. The method is based on a study of the evolution of the solar neighborhood with a state-of-the-art 1-zone model, using recent yields of low and intermediate mass stars as well as of massive rotating stars. We compare our results with previous studies and we provide tables with the isotopic and elemental contributions of the s- and r-processes to the Solar system composition.
  3. Abstract The cosmic evolution of the chemical elements from the Big Bang to the present time is driven by nuclear fusion reactions inside stars and stellar explosions. A cycle of matter recurrently re-processes metal-enriched stellar ejecta into the next generation of stars. The study of cosmic nucleosynthesis and this matter cycle requires the understanding of the physics of nuclear reactions, of the conditions at which the nuclear reactions are activated inside the stars and stellar explosions, of the stellar ejection mechanisms through winds and explosions, and of the transport of the ejecta towards the next cycle, from hot plasma to cold, star-forming gas. Due to the long timescales of stellar evolution, and because of the infrequent occurrence of stellar explosions, observational studies are challenging, as they have biases in time and space as well as different sensitivities related to the various astronomical methods. Here, we describe in detail the astrophysical and nuclear-physical processes involved in creating two radioactive isotopes useful in such studies, $^{26}\mathrm{Al}$ and $^{60}\mathrm{Fe}$ . Due to their radioactive lifetime of the order of a million years, these isotopes are suitable to characterise simultaneously the processes of nuclear fusion reactions and of interstellar transport. We describe and discussmore »the nuclear reactions involved in the production and destruction of $^{26}\mathrm{Al}$ and $^{60}\mathrm{Fe}$ , the key characteristics of the stellar sites of their nucleosynthesis and their interstellar journey after ejection from the nucleosynthesis sites. This allows us to connect the theoretical astrophysical aspects to the variety of astronomical messengers presented here, from stardust and cosmic-ray composition measurements, through observation of $\gamma$ rays produced by radioactivity, to material deposited in deep-sea ocean crusts and to the inferred composition of the first solids that have formed in the Solar System. We show that considering measurements of the isotopic ratio of $^{26}\mathrm{Al}$ to $^{60}\mathrm{Fe}$ eliminate some of the unknowns when interpreting astronomical results, and discuss the lessons learned from these two isotopes on cosmic chemical evolution. This review paper has emerged from an ISSI-BJ Team project in 2017–2019, bringing together nuclear physicists, astronomers, and astrophysicists in this inter-disciplinary discussion.« less