Masses and ages for metal-poor stars: a pilot programme combining asteroseismology and high-resolution spectroscopic follow-up of RAVE halo stars

M. Valentini, C. Chiappini, D. Bossini, A. Miglio, G. R. Davies, B. Mosser, Y. P. Elsworth, S. Mathur, R. A. García, L. Girardi, T. S. Rodrigues, M. Steinmetz, A. Vallenari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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Context. Very metal-poor halo stars are the best candidates for being among the oldest objects in our Galaxy. Samples of halo stars with age determination and detailed chemical composition measurements provide key information for constraining the nature of the first stellar generations and the nucleosynthesis in the metal-poor regime.

Aims. Age estimates are very uncertain and are available for only a small number of metal-poor stars. We present the first results of a pilot programme aimed at deriving precise masses, ages, and chemical abundances for metal-poor halo giants using asteroseismology and high-resolution spectroscopy.

Methods. We obtained high-resolution UVES spectra for four metal-poor RAVE stars observed by the K2 satellite. Seismic data obtained from K2 light curves helped improve spectroscopic temperatures, metallicities, and individual chemical abundances. Mass and ages were derived using the code PARAM, investigating the effects of different assumptions (e.g. mass loss and [α/Fe]-enhancement). Orbits were computed using Gaia DR2 data.

Results. The stars are found to be normal metal-poor halo stars (i.e. non C-enhanced), and an abundance pattern typical of old stars (i.e. α and Eu-enhanced), and have masses in the 0.80−1.0 M range. The inferred model-dependent stellar ages are found to range from 7.4 Gyr to 13.0 Gyr with uncertainties of ∼30%−35%. We also provide revised masses and ages for metal-poor stars with Kepler seismic data from the APOGEE survey and a set of M4 stars.

Conclusions. The present work shows that the combination of asteroseismology and high-resolution spectroscopy provides precise ages in the metal-poor regime. Most of the stars analysed in the present work (covering the metallicity range of [Fe/H] ∼ −0.8 to −2 dex) are very old >9 Gyr (14 out of 19 stars), and all of the stars are older than >5 Gyr (within the 68 percentile confidence level).

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA173
Number of pages23
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

21 pages, 19 figures. Accepted


  • Asteroseismology
  • Stars: abundances
  • Stars: fundamental parameters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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