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  1. 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 neutralmore »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.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  2. 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. Surfacemore »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.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  3. ABSTRACT We present chemical abundances for 21 elements (from Li to Eu) in 150 metal-poor Galactic stars spanning −4.1 < [Fe/H] < −2.1. The targets were selected from the SkyMapper survey and include 90 objects with [Fe/H] ≤ −3 of which some 15 have [Fe/H] ≤ −3.5. When combining the sample with our previous studies, we find that the metallicity distribution function has a power-law slope of Δ(log N)/Δ[Fe/H] = 1.51 ± 0.01 dex per dex over the range −4 ≤ [Fe/H] ≤ −3. With only seven carbon-enhanced metal-poor stars in the sample, we again find that the selection of metal-poor stars based on SkyMapper filters is biased against highly carbon-rich stars for [Fe/H] > −3.5. Of the 20 objects for which we could measure nitrogen, 11 are nitrogen-enhanced metal-poor (NEMP) stars. Within our sample, the high NEMP fraction (55 per cent ± 21 per cent) is compatible with the upper range of predicted values (between 12 per cent and 35 per cent). The chemical abundance ratios [X/Fe] versus [Fe/H] exhibit similar trends to previous studies of metal-poor stars and Galactic chemical evolution models. We report the discovery of nine new r-I stars, four new r-II stars, one of which is the most metal-poor known, nine low-α starsmore »with [α/Fe] ≤ 0.15 as well as one unusual star with [Zn/Fe] = +1.4 and [Sr/Fe] = +1.2 but with normal [Ba/Fe]. Finally, we combine our sample with literature data to provide the most extensive view of the early chemical enrichment of the Milky Way Galaxy.« less
  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 ))more »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.« less
  5. ABSTRACT In this work, we combine spectroscopic information from the SkyMapper survey for Extremely Metal-Poor stars and astrometry from Gaia DR2 to investigate the kinematics of a sample of 475 stars with a metallicity range of $-6.5 \le \rm [Fe/H] \le -2.05$ dex. Exploiting the action map, we identify 16 and 40 stars dynamically consistent with the Gaia Sausage and Gaia Sequoia accretion events, respectively. The most metal poor of these candidates have metallicities of $\rm [Fe/H]=-3.31\, \mathrm{ and }\, -3.74$, respectively, helping to define the low-metallicity tail of the progenitors involved in the accretion events. We also find, consistent with other studies, that ∼21 per cent of the sample have orbits that remain confined to within 3 kpc of the Galactic plane, that is, |Zmax| ≤ 3 kpc. Of particular interest is a subsample (∼11 per cent of the total) of low |Zmax| stars with low eccentricities and prograde motions. The lowest metallicity of these stars has [Fe/H] = –4.30 and the subsample is best interpreted as the very low-metallicity tail of the metal-weak thick disc population. The low |Zmax|, low eccentricity stars with retrograde orbits are likely accreted, while the low |Zmax|, high eccentricity pro- and retrograde stars are plausibly associated with the Gaiamore »Sausage system. We find that a small fraction of our sample (∼4 per cent of the total) is likely escaping from the Galaxy, and postulate that these stars have gained energy from gravitational interactions that occur when infalling dwarf galaxies are tidally disrupted.« less
  6. ABSTRACT We present and discuss the results of a search for extremely metal-poor stars based on photometry from data release DR1.1 of the SkyMapper imaging survey of the southern sky. In particular, we outline our photometric selection procedures and describe the low-resolution (R ≈ 3000) spectroscopic follow-up observations that are used to provide estimates of effective temperature, surface gravity, and metallicity ([Fe/H]) for the candidates. The selection process is very efficient: of the 2618 candidates with low-resolution spectra that have photometric metallicity estimates less than or equal to −2.0, 41 per cent have [Fe/H] ≤ −2.75 and only approximately seven per cent have [Fe/H] > −2.0 dex. The most metal-poor candidate in the sample has [Fe/H] < −4.75 and is notably carbon rich. Except at the lowest metallicities ([Fe/H] < −4), the stars observed spectroscopically are dominated by a ‘carbon-normal’ population with [C/Fe]1D, LTE ≤ +1 dex. Consideration of the A(C)1D, LTE versus [Fe/H]1D, LTE diagram suggests that the current selection process is strongly biased against stars with A(C)1D, LTE > 7.3 (predominantly CEMP-s) while any bias against stars with A(C)1D, LTE < 7.3 and [C/Fe]1D,LTE > +1 (predominantly CEMP-no) is not readily quantifiable given the uncertainty in the SkyMapper v-band DR1.1 photometry. We find that the metallicity distribution function ofmore »the observed sample has a power-law slope of Δ(Log N)/Δ[Fe/H] = 1.5 ± 0.1 dex per dex for −4.0 ≤ [Fe/H] ≤ −2.75, but appears to drop abruptly at [Fe/H] ≈ −4.2, in line with previous studies.« less
  7. ABSTRACT We report the discovery of SMSS J160540.18−144323.1, a new ultra metal-poor halo star discovered with the SkyMapper telescope. We measure $\left[\rm {Fe}/\rm {H}\right]= -6.2 \pm 0.2$ (1D LTE), the lowest ever detected abundance of iron in a star. The star is strongly carbon-enhanced, $\left[\rm {C}/\rm {Fe}\right] = 3.9 \pm 0.2$, while other abundances are compatible with an α-enhanced solar-like pattern with $\left[\rm {Ca}/\rm {Fe}\right] = 0.4 \pm 0.2$, $\left[\rm {Mg}/\rm {Fe}\right] = 0.6 \pm 0.2$, $\left[\rm {Ti}/\rm {Fe}\right] = 0.8 \pm 0.2$, and no significant s- or r-process enrichment, $\left[\rm {Sr}/\rm {Fe}\right] \lt 0.2$ and $\left[\rm {Ba}/\rm {Fe}\right] \lt 1.0$ (3σ limits). Population III stars exploding as fallback supernovae may explain both the strong carbon enhancement and the apparent lack of enhancement of odd-Z and neutron-capture element abundances. Grids of supernova models computed for metal-free progenitor stars yield good matches for stars of about $10\, \rm M_\odot$ imparting a low kinetic energy on the supernova ejecta, while models for stars more massive than roughly $20\, \rm M_\odot$ are incompatible with the observed abundance pattern.