Blocking metal accretion onto population III stars by stellar wind

Shuta J. Tanaka, Gen Chiaki, Nozomu Tominaga, Hajime Susa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Low-mass population III (PopIII) stars of 0.8 M could survive up until the present. The nondetection of low-mass PopIII stars in our Galaxy has already put a stringent constraint on the initial mass function (IMF) of PopIII stars, suggesting that PopIII stars have a top-heavy IMF. On the other hand, some claim that the lack of such stars stems from metal enrichment of their surfaces by the accretion of heavy elements from the interstellar medium (ISM). We investigate the effects of the stellar wind on metal accretion onto low-mass PopIII stars because accretion of the local ISM onto the Sun is prevented by the solar wind, even for neutrals. The stellar wind and radiation of low-mass PopIII stars are modeled based on knowledge of nearby low-mass stellar systems, including our Sun. We find that low-mass PopIII stars traveling across the Galaxy form a stellar magnetosphere in most of their life. Once the magnetosphere is formed, most of the neutral interstellar particles are photoionized before reaching the stellar surface and are blown away by the wind. Especially, the accretion abundance of iron will be reduced by a factor of <10 -12 compared with Bondi-Hoyle-Lyttleton accretion. The metal accretion can enhance iron abundance [Fe/H] only up to ∼−14. This demonstrates that low-mass PopIII stars remain pristine and will be found as metal-free stars and that further searches for them are valuable in constraining the IMF of PopIII stars.

Original languageEnglish
Article number137
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Early universe
  • Outflows
  • Stars: Population III
  • Stars: abundances
  • Stars: chemically peculiar
  • Stars: low-mass
  • Stars: winds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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