Evolution of lithium beyond the solar age: A Li survey of the old open cluster NGC 188
We have determined Li abundances for 11 G-type stars in the 6-8 Gyr old open cluster <ASTROBJ>NGC 188</ASTROBJ>. These data significantly enlarge the number of cluster stars with Li measurements, allowing us to extend the investigation of Li depletion in open clusters to ages well beyond the age of the Sun. We have also inferred the cluster metallicity which turns out to be solar. We find that solar-type stars in NGC 188 are only slightly more Li depleted than the much younger <ASTROBJ>Hyades</ASTROBJ> and no more Li depleted than stars of similar temperature in the 2-4 Gyr younger cluster <ASTROBJ>M 67</ASTROBJ>. At variance with M 67, NGC 188 members show virtually no scatter in their Li abundances. Surprisingly, no solar-type star in NGC 188 appears as Li depleted as the Sun or as the most Li depleted stars in M 67. We discuss the implications of these results for mechanisms of internal mixing and Li depletion in main sequence stars.<p/> Based on observations collected at the Italian National Telescope Galileo.