Dwarf and Subgiant Stars as Probes of Galactic Chemical and Dynamical Evolution

Sammanfattning: Stellar chemical abundances provide astronomers with vital information about the production of chemical elements. Some stars preserve the composition of the environment in which they were born on their surfaces. By analysing the light from a star, the abundances of elements, its age and its path in space can be derived, and translated into the language of galactic history. The spallative history of boron in the early Galaxy was reinvestigated by observations of an ultraviolet spectral line in the old star HD 140283 with the Hubble Space Telescope. The line was barely detected and the upper limit abundance derived was lower than expected, which calls for further observations of this line in halo stars. Stars evolved into subgiants were observed with the ESO CAT, La Silla, and NOT, La Palma, to deduce their usefulness for galactic evolution studies. The high resolution spectroscopy study of the 26 objects showed that these stars are indeed useful for such studies. They are more luminous than dwarf stars and their ages can be accurately derived. They do not seem to have changed their surface abundances due to their evolution into giants. Subgiants can successfully be used to observationally reach regions further from the Earth, which can remove local biases that may appear when only observing nearby dwarf stars. A NLTE investigation of neutral Ca showed that cool metal rich dwarf stars did not deviate significantly from LTE, as had earlier been suggested. By an LTE analysis of a sample of 17 such dwarfs, using recent MARCS atmospheres, synthetic spectroscopy and modern atomic line data, cool metal rich dwarfs were shown not to deviate significantly from the expected abundance patterns in a number of elements. This increases the number of potential targets for studies of galactic chemical evolution in the metal rich regime since most stars are cool.