Lithium enhancement in X-ray binaries due to stellar rotation

T. J. Maccarone, P. G. Jonker, A. I. Sills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We discuss the high lithium abundances in the secondary stars of X-ray binaries. We show that no lithium production in these stars is necessary, and that the abundances can be explained simply due to the tidally locked rotation of the stars, which lead naturally to slower lithium destruction rates. The differences in abundances of CVs' secondaries from those of LMXBs had previously been put forth as evidence that the compact object was related to the lithium abundance, but this scenario also accounts for the lower lithium abundances in the secondary stars in cataclysmic variable systems (CVs) than in low mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs), since these stars have typically lived much longer before becoming tidally locked short period systems. We point out that if this scenario is correct, then the globular cluster X-ray binaries' donor stars should, as a class, show less lithium enhancement relative to other stars of the same spectral type in the clusters than the field X-ray binaries donor stars show.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671-675
Number of pages5
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • Binaries: close
  • Stars: abundances
  • X-rays: binaries


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