The Messenger

The Journey of Lithium

  • Magrini, Laura [INAF – Astronomical Observatory of Arcetri, Florence, Italy]
  • Smiljanic, Rodolfo [Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland]
  • Lagarde, Nadège [UTINAM Institute, CNRS UMR 6213, University of Bourgogne Franche-Comté and Besançon Observatory, France; LAB CNRS, University of Bordeaux, France]
  • Franciosini, Elena [INAF – Astronomical Observatory of Arcetri, Florence, Italy]
  • Pasquini, Luca [European Southern Observatory (ESO)]
  • Romano, Donatella [INAF – Astrophysics and Space Science Observatory of Bologna, Italy]
  • Randich, Sofia [INAF – Astronomical Observatory of Arcetri, Florence, Italy]
  • Gilmore, Gerry [Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, UK]


After more than ten years and six data releases, the Gaia–ESO spectroscopic survey has come to an end. Gaia–ESO provides an extremely rich database of stellar parameters, radial velocities, and chemical abundances of more than 100 000 stars, amongst which the abundance of lithium can be considered one of the main products. Lithium is perhaps the most enigmatic of the elements, with several open issues regarding its nucleosynthesis and its evolution in stars and in the Galaxy. Gaia–ESO observations are allowing such issues to be addressed, by providing lithium abundances in stars from the pre-main sequence, through the main sequence, up to the red giant branch and the helium- burning red clump phase, over a wide range of masses. In the present work, we discuss the journey of lithium on the surface of evolved stars, using Gaia–ESO data for both field and cluster stars. We focus on the impact of extra mixing and possible lithium enrichment during the helium-burning phase. We briefly comment on the implications that these results may have for models of the chemical evolution of lithium in the Galaxy.

Created: 2021-12-01/2021-12-31
4 pages

Cite this article:

L. Magrini, R. Smiljanic, N. Lagarde, E. Franciosini, L. Pasquini, D. Romano, S. Randich, G. Gilmore; The Journey of Lithium. The Messenger 185 (December 2021): 18–21.