asymptotic giant branch (AGB)
šâxe-ye nâhamsâvi-ye qulân
Fr.: branche asymptotique des géantes
A region of the → Hertzsprung-Russell diagram populated by evolving → low-mass to → intermediate-mass stars. These stars have an electron → degenerate core of carbon and oxygen surrounded by two burning shells of helium and hydrogen. The H and He-burning shells are activated alternately in the deep layers of the star. An extended and tenuous convection envelope, having a radius of 104-105 times the size of the core, lies above these shells. The loosely bound envelope is gradually eroded by the strong → stellar wind, which forms a dusty → circumstellar envelope out to several hundreds of stellar radii. The convective envelope, stellar atmosphere, and circumstellar envelope have a rich and changing chemical composition provided by → nucleosynthesis processes in the burning shells in the deep interior.