Institution(s): 1. University of Wroclaw
The problem of the blue loops during the core helium burning, outstanding for almost fifty years, is one of the most difficult and poorly understood problems in stellar astrophysics. Most of the work focused on the blue loops done so far has been performed with old stellar evolution codes and with limited computational resources. In the end the obtained conclusions were based on a small sample of models and could not have taken into account more advanced effects and interactions between them.
The emergence of the blue loops depends on many details of the evolution calculations, in particular on chemical composition, opacity, mixing processes etc. The non-linear interactions between these factors contribute to the statement that in most cases it is hard to predict without a precise stellar modeling whether a loop will emerge or not. The high sensitivity of the blue loops to even small changes of the internal structure of a star yields one more issue: a sensitivity to numerical problems, which are common in calculations of stellar models on advanced stages of the evolution.
To tackle this problem we used a modern stellar evolution code MESA. We calculated a large grid of evolutionary tracks (about 8000 models) with masses in the range of 3.0 – 25.0 solar masses from the zero age main sequence to the depletion of helium in the core. In order to make a comparative analysis, we varied metallicity, helium abundance and different mixing parameters resulting from convective overshooting, rotation etc.
The better understanding of the properties of the blue loops is crucial for our knowledge of the population of blue supergiants or pulsating variables such as Cepheids, α-Cygni or Slowly Pulsating B-type supergiants. In case of more massive models it is also of great importance for studies of the progenitors of supernovae.