MIXING IN STARS AND THE EVOLUTION OF THE 3HE ABUNDANCE

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Abstract

We first recall the observational and theoretical facts that constitute the so-called 3He problem. We then review the chemical anomalies that could be related to the destruction of 3He in red giants stars. We show how a simple consistent mechanism can lead to the destruction of 3He in low mass stars and simultaneously account for the low 12C/13C ratios and low lithium abundances observed in giant stars of different populations. This process should both naturally account for the recent measurements of 3He/H in galactic HII regions and allow for high values of 3He observed in some planetary nebulae. We propose a simple statistical estimation of the fraction of stars that may be affected by this process.

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