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  1. Context. Cool stars, such as M giants, can only be analyzed in the near-infrared (NIR) regime due to the ubiquitous titanium oxide features in optical spectra of stars with T eff  < 4000 K. In dust-obscured regions, the inner bulge and Galactic center region, the intrinsically bright M giants observed in the NIR are an optimal option for studying stellar abundances and the chemical evolution of stellar populations. Because of the uncertainties in photometric methods, a method for determining the stellar parameters for M giants from the NIR spectra themselves is needed. Aims. We develop a method for determining the stellar parameters for M giants from the NIR spectra. We validate the method by deriving the stellar parameters for nearby well-studied M giants with spectra from the spectral library of the Immersion GRating INfrared Spectrograph (IGRINS). We demonstrate the accuracy and precision of our method by determining the stellar parameters and α -element trends versus metallicity for solar neighborhood M giants. Methods. We carried out new observations of 44 M giant stars with IGRINS mounted on the Gemini South telescope. We also obtained the full H and K band IGRINS spectra of six nearby well-studied M giants at a spectral resolving power of R  = 45 000 from the IGRINS spectral library. We used the tool called spectroscopy made easy in combination with one-dimensional (1D) model atmospheres in a radiative and convective scheme (MARCS) stellar atmosphere models to model the synthetic spectrum that fits the observed spectrum best. Results. The effective temperatures that we derive from our new method (tested for 3400 ≲  T eff  ≲ 4000 K here) agree excellently with those of the six nearby well-studied M giants, which indicates that the accuracy is indeed high. For the 43 solar neighborhood M giants, our T eff , log g , [Fe/H], ξ micro , [C/Fe], [N/Fe], and [O/Fe] agree with APOGEE with mean differences and a scatter (our method – APOGEE) of −67±33 K, −0.31±0.15 dex, 0.02±0.05 dex, 0.22±0.13 km s −1 , −0.05±0.06 dex, 0.06±0.06 dex, and 0.02±0.09 dex, respectively. Furthermore, the tight offset with a small dispersion compared to the APOGEE T eff indicates a high precision in our derived temperatures and those derived from the APOGEE pipeline. The typical uncertainties in the stellar parameters are found to be ±100 K in T eff , ±0.2 dex in log g , ±0.1 dex in [Fe/H], and ±0.1 km s −1 in ξ micro . The α -element trends versus metallicity for Mg, Si, Ca, and Ti are consistent with the APOGEE DR17 trends for the same stars and with the GILD optical trends. We also find a clear enhancement in the abundances for thick-disk stars. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  2. Context. Large spectroscopic surveys of the Milky Way must be calibrated against a sample of benchmark stars to ensure the reliable determination of atmospheric parameters. Aims. Here, we present new fundamental stellar parameters of seven giant and subgiant stars that will serve as benchmark stars for large surveys. The aim is to reach a precision of 1% in the effective temperature. This precision is essential for accurate determinations of the full set of fundamental parameters and abundances for stars observed by the stellar surveys. Methods. We observed HD 121370 ( η Boo), HD 161797 ( μ Her), HD 175955, HD 182736, HD 185351, HD 188512 ( β Aql), and HD 189349, using the high angular resolution optical interferometric instrument PAVO at the CHARA Array. The limb-darkening corrections were determined from 3D model atmospheres based on the STAGGER grid. The T eff were determined directly from the Stefan-Boltzmann relation, with an iterative procedure to interpolate over tables of bolometric corrections. We estimated surface gravities from comparisons to Dartmouth stellar evolution model tracks. The spectroscopic observations were collected from the ELODIE and FIES spectrographs. We estimated metallicities ([Fe/H]) from a 1D non-local thermodynamic equilibrium (NLTE) abundance analysis of unblended lines of neutral and singly ionised iron. Results. For six of the seven stars, we measured the value of T eff to better than 1% accuracy. For one star, HD 189349, the uncertainty on T eff is 2%, due to an uncertain bolometric flux. We do not recommend this star as a benchmark until this measurement can be improved. Median uncertainties for all stars in log  g and [Fe/H] are 0.034 dex and 0.07 dex, respectively. Conclusions. This study presents updated fundamental stellar parameters of seven giant and subgiant stars that can be used as a new set of benchmarks. All the fundamental stellar parameters were established on the basis of consistent combinations of interferometric observations, 3D limb-darkening modelling, and spectroscopic analysis. This paper in this series follows our previous papers featuring dwarf stars and stars in the metal-poor range. 
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  3. Context. Stellar models applied to large stellar surveys of the Milky Way need to be properly tested against a sample of stars with highly reliable fundamental stellar parameters. We have established a programme aiming to deliver such a sample of stars. Aims. Here we present new fundamental stellar parameters of nine dwarf stars that will be used as benchmark stars for large stellar surveys. One of these stars is the solar-twin 18 Sco, which is also one of the Gaia -ESO benchmarks. The goal is to reach a precision of 1% in effective temperature ( T eff ). This precision is important for accurate determinations of the full set of fundamental parameters and abundances of stars observed by the surveys. Methods. We observed HD 131156 ( ξ Boo), HD 146233 (18 Sco), HD 152391, HD 173701, HD 185395 ( θ Cyg), HD 186408 (16 Cyg A), HD 186427 (16 Cyg B), HD 190360, and HD 207978 (15 Peg) using the high angular resolution optical interferometric instrument PAVO at the CHARA Array. We derived limb-darkening corrections from 3D model atmospheres and determined T eff directly from the Stefan–Boltzmann relation, with an iterative procedure to interpolate over tables of bolometric corrections. Surface gravities were estimated from comparisons to Dartmouth stellar evolution model tracks. We collected spectroscopic observations from the ELODIE spectrograph and estimated metallicities ([Fe/H]) from a 1D non-local thermodynamic equilibrium (NLTE) abundance analysis of unblended lines of neutral and singly ionised iron. Results. For eight of the nine stars we measure the T eff ⪅ 1%, and for one star better than 2%. We determined the median uncertainties in log  g and [Fe/H] as 0.015 dex and 0.05 dex, respectively. Conclusions. This study presents updated fundamental stellar parameters of nine dwarf stars that can be used as a new set of benchmarks. All the fundamental stellar parameters were based on consistently combining interferometric observations, 3D limb-darkening modelling, and spectroscopic analysis. The next paper in this series will extend our sample to giants in the metal-rich range. 
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  4. Context. Benchmark stars are crucial as validating standards for current as well as future large stellar surveys of the Milky Way. However, the number of suitable metal-poor benchmark stars is currently limited, owing to the difficulty in determining reliable effective temperatures ( T eff ) in this regime. Aims. We aim to construct a new set of metal-poor benchmark stars based on reliable interferometric effective temperature determinations and a homogeneous analysis. The aim is to reach a precision of 1% in T eff , as is crucial for sufficiently accurate determinations of the full set of fundamental parameters and abundances for the survey sources. Methods. We observed ten late-type metal-poor dwarfs and giants: HD 2665, HD 6755, HD 6833, HD 103095, HD 122563, HD 127243, HD 140283, HD 175305, HD 221170, and HD 224930. Only three of them (HD 103095, HD 122563, and HD 140283) have previously been used as benchmark stars. For the observations, we used the high-angular-resolution optical interferometric instrument PAVO at the CHARA array. We modelled angular diameters using 3D limb-darkening models and determined effective temperatures directly from the Stefan-Boltzmann relation, with an iterative procedure to interpolate over tables of bolometric corrections. Surface gravities (log( g )) were estimated from comparisons to Dartmouth stellar evolution model tracks. We collected spectroscopic observations from the ELODIE and FIES spectrographs and estimated metallicities ([Fe/H]) from a 1D non-local thermodynamic equilibrium (NLTE) abundance analysis of unblended lines of neutral and singly ionised iron. Results. We inferred T eff to better than 1% for five of the stars (HD 103095, HD 122563, HD 127243, HD 140283, and HD 224930). The effective temperatures of the other five stars are reliable to between 2 and 3%; the higher uncertainty on the T eff for those stars is mainly due to their having a larger uncertainty in the bolometric fluxes. We also determined log( g ) and [Fe/H] with median uncertainties of 0.03 dex and 0.09 dex, respectively. Conclusions. This study presents reliable and homogeneous fundamental stellar parameters for ten metal-poor stars that can be adopted as a new set of benchmarks. The parameters are based on our consistent approach of combining interferometric observations, 3D limb-darkening-modelling and spectroscopic observations. The next paper in this series will extend this approach to dwarfs and giants in the metal-rich regime. 
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  5. ABSTRACT

    Analyses of data from spectroscopic and astrometric surveys have led to conflicting results concerning the vertical characteristics of the Milky Way. Ages are often used to provide clarity, but typical uncertainties of >40 per cent from photometry restrict the validity of the inferences made. Using the Kepler APOKASC sample for context, we explore the global population trends of two K2 campaign fields (3 and 6), which extend further vertically out of the Galactic plane than APOKASC. We analyse the properties of red giant stars utilizing three asteroseismic data analysis methods to cross-check and validate detections. The Bayesian inference tool PARAM is used to determine the stellar masses, radii, and ages. Evidence of a pronounced red giant branch bump and an [α/Fe] dependence on the position of the red clump is observed from the K2 fields radius distribution. Two peaks in the age distribution centred at ∼5 and ∼12 Gyr are found using a sample with σage < 35 per cent. In comparison with Kepler, we find the older peak to be more prominent for K2. This age bimodality is also observed based on a chemical selection of low-[α/Fe] (≤0.1) and high-[α/Fe] (>0.1) stars. As a function of vertical distance from the Galactic mid-plane (|Z|), the age distribution shows a transition from a young to old stellar population with increasing |Z| for the K2 fields. Further coverage of campaign targets with high-resolution spectroscopy is required to increase the yield of precise ages achievable with asteroseismology.

     
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