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Fast Winds and Mass Loss from Metal-Poor Field Giants 1

By A. K. Dupree, Graeme H. Smith and Jay Strader


Echelle spectra of the infrared He I λ10830 line were obtained with NIRSPEC on the Keck 2 telescope for 41 metal-deficient field giant stars including those on the red giant branch (RGB), asymptotic giant branch (AGB), and red horizontal branch (RHB). The presence of this He I line is ubiquitous in stars with Teff � 4500K and MV fainter than −1.5, and reveals the dynamics of the atmosphere. The line strength increases with effective temperature for Teff � 5300K in RHB stars. In AGB and RGB stars, the line strength increases with luminosity. Fast outflows ( � 60 km s −1) are detected from the majority of the stars and about 40 percent of the outflows have sufficient speed as to allow escape of material from the star as well as from a globular cluster. Outflow speeds and line strengths do not depend on metallicity for our sample ([Fe/H] = −0.7 to −3.0) suggesting the driving mechanism for these winds derives from magnetic and/or hydrodynamic processes. Gas outflows are present in every luminous giant, but are not detected in all stars of lower luminosity indicating possible variability. Mass loss rate

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