Abundances in the symbiotic star AG Draconis: The barium-symbiotic connection

V. V. Smith, K. Cunha, A. Jorissen, H. M.J. Boffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


An abundance analysis of the yellow symbiotic system AG Draconis reveals it to be a metal-poor K-giant ([Fe/H] = -1.3) which is enriched in the heavy s-process elements. This star thus provides a link between the symbiotic stars and the binary barium and CH stars which are also s-process enriched. These binary systems, which exhibit overabundances of the heavy elements, owe their abundance peculiarities to mass transfer from thermally-pulsing asymptotic giant branch stars, which have since evolved to become white-dwarf companions of the cool stars we now view as the chemically peculiar primaries. A comparison of the heavy-element abundance distribution in AG Dra with theoretical nucleosynthesis calculations shows that the s-process is defined by a relatively large neutron exposure (τ=1.3 mb-1), while an analysis of the rubidium abundance suggests that the s-process occurred at a neutron density of about 2 108 cm-3. The derived spectroscopic orbit of AG Dra is similar to the orbits of barium and CH stars. Because the luminosity function of low-metallicity K giants is skewed towards higher luminosities by about 2 magnitudes relative to solar-metallicity giants, it is argued that the lower metallicity K giants have larger mass-loss rates. It is this larger mass-loss rate that drives the symbiotic phenomena in AG Dra and we suggest that the other yellow symbiotic stars are probably low-metallicity objects as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-193
Number of pages15
JournalAstronomy and astrophysics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Binaries: symbiotic
  • Stars: abundances
  • Stars: individual: AG Dra
  • Stars: peculiar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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