Mass loss on the horizontal branch has been invoked in the literature to explain such phenomena as the color (mass) dispersion of the horizontal branch and the observed distribution of period changes in RR Lyrae stars. To test these claims, the Yale stellar evolution code was used to evolve horizontal branch models of masses 0.64, 0.66, 0.68, 0.70, and 0.72 M⊙ with Z of 0.001, core mass of 0.4893, main-sequence helium abundance of 0.23, and constant mass loss rates of 0, 10-10, 5 × 10-10, and 10-9 M⊙ yr-1. Mass loss was assumed to occur only in the instability strip, where a mechanism is most likely to exist. Synthetic horizontal branches, construcled from the models, show that mass loss on the horizontal branch cannot produce the observed color dispersion even for the highest mass-loss rate of 10-9 M⊙ yr-1. Mass loss is unlikely to occur at a higher rate without significant effects on the horizontal branch morphology, which would destroy the good agreement between standard synthetic models without mass loss and observed horizontal branches. Periods and period changes were calculated for all models. The period changes are not significantly larger for models with mass loss. The effect of mass loss in clusters of other metallicities is discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science