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Synthesis of 19F in Wolf-Rayet stars

Abstract

Meynet and Arnould (1993) have suggested that Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars could significantly contaminate the Galaxy with 19F. In their scenario, 19F is synthesized at the beginning of the He-burning phase from the 14N left over by the previous CNO-burning core, and is ejected in the interstellar medium when the star enters its WC phase. Recourse to CNO seeds makes the 19F yields metallicity-dependent. These yields are calculated on grounds of detailed stellar evolutionary sequences for an extended range of initial masses (from 25 to 120 Msol) and metallicities (Z = 0.008, 0.02 and 0.04). The adopted mass loss rate prescription enables to account for the observed variations of WR populations in different environments. The 19F abundance in the WR winds of 60 Msol model stars is found to be about 10 to 70 times higher than its initial value, depending on the metallicity. This prediction is used in conjunction with a very simple model for the chemical evolution of the Galaxy to predict that WR stars could be significant (dominant?) contributors to the solar system fluorine content. We also briefly discuss the implications of our model on the possible detection of fluorine at high redshift.Comment: 2 figures; requires LaTeX A&A class file; accepted for publication in Astron. Astrophy

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