Constraining the thermally pulsing asymptotic giant branch phase with resolved stellar populations in the Large Magellanic Cloud

Giada Pastorelli*, Paola Marigo, Léo Girardi, Bernhard Aringer, Yang Chen, Stefano Rubele, Michele Trabucchi, Sara Bladh, Martha L. Boyer, Alessandro Bressan, Julianne J. Dalcanton, Martin A. T. Groenewegen, Thomas Lebzelter, Nami Mowlavi, Katy L. Chubb, Maria-Rosa L. Cioni, Richard De Grijs, Valentin D. Ivanov, Ambra Nanni, Jacco Th van LoonSimone Zaggia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)
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Reliable models of the thermally pulsing asymptotic giant branch (TP-AGB) phase are of critical importance across astrophysics, including our interpretation of the spectral energy distribution of galaxies, cosmic dust production, and enrichment of the interstellar medium. With the aim of improving sets of stellar isochrones that include a detailed description of the TP-AGB phase, we extend our recent calibration of the AGB population in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) to the more metal-rich Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). We model the LMC stellar populations with the trilegal code, using the spatially resolved star formation history derived from the VISTA survey. We characterize the efficiency of the third dredge-up by matching the star counts and the Ks-band luminosity functions of the AGB stars identified in the LMC. In line with previous findings, we confirm that, compared to the SMC, the third dredge-up in AGB stars of the LMC is somewhat less efficient, as a consequence of the higher metallicity. The predicted range of initial mass of C-rich stars is between Mi ≈ 1.7 and 3 M at Zi = 0.008. We show how the inclusion of new opacity data in the carbon star spectra will improve the performance of our models. We discuss the predicted lifetimes, integrated luminosities, and mass-loss rate distributions of the calibrated models. The results of our calibration are included in updated stellar isochrones publicly available.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3283-3301
Number of pages19
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 498, Issue 3, November 2020, Pages 3283–3301, Copyright 2020 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


  • Magellanic Clouds
  • stars: AGB and post-AGB
  • stars: evolution


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