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  1. Abstract Our understanding of the properties and demographics of exoplanets critically relies on our ability to determine the fundamental properties of their host stars. The advent of Gaia and large spectroscopic surveys has now made it possible, in principle, to infer the properties of individual stars, including most exoplanet hosts, to very high precision. However, we show that, in practice, such analyses are limited by uncertainties in both the fundamental scale and our models of stellar evolution, even for stars similar to the Sun. For example, we show that current uncertainties on measured interferometric angular diameters and bolometric fluxes set a systematic uncertainty floor of ≈2.4% in temperature, ≈2.0% in luminosity, and ≈4.2% in radius. Comparisons between widely available model grids suggest uncertainties of order ≈5% in mass and ≈20% in age for main-sequence and subgiant stars. While the radius uncertainties are roughly constant over this range of stars, the model-dependent uncertainties are a complex function of luminosity, temperature, and metallicity. We provide open-source software for approximating these uncertainties for individual targets and discuss strategies for reducing these uncertainties in the future.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  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 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
  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. 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
  4. Abstract Classical Be stars are possible products of close binary evolution, in which the mass donor becomes a hot, stripped O- or B-type subdwarf (sdO/sdB), and the mass gainer spins up and grows a disk to become a Be star. While several Be+sdO binaries have been identified, dynamical masses and other fundamental parameters are available only for a single Be+sdO system, limiting the confrontation with binary evolution models. In this work, we present direct interferometric detections of the sdO companions of three Be stars—28 Cyg, V2119 Cyg, and 60 Cyg—all of which were previously found in UV spectra. For two of the three Be+sdO systems, we present first orbits and preliminary dynamical masses of the components, revealing that one of them could be the first identified progenitor of a Be/X-ray binary with a neutron star companion. These results provide new sets of fundamental parameters that are crucially needed to establish the evolutionary status and origin of Be stars.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  5. Abstract The distortions of absorption line profiles caused by photospheric brightness variations on the surfaces of cool, main-sequence stars can mimic or overwhelm radial velocity (RV) shifts due to the presence of exoplanets. The latest generation of precision RV spectrographs aims to detect velocity amplitudes ≲ 10 cm s −1 , but requires mitigation of stellar signals. Statistical techniques are being developed to differentiate between Keplerian and activity-related velocity perturbations. Two important challenges, however, are the interpretability of the stellar activity component as RV models become more sophisticated, and ensuring the lowest-amplitude Keplerian signatures are not inadvertently accounted for in flexible models of stellar activity. For the K2V exoplanet host ϵ Eridani, we separately used ground-based photometry to constrain Gaussian processes for modeling RVs and TESS photometry with a light-curve inversion algorithm to reconstruct the stellar surface. From the reconstructions of TESS photometry, we produced an activity model that reduced the rms scatter in RVs obtained with EXPRES from 4.72 to 1.98 m s −1 . We present a pilot study using the CHARA Array and MIRC-X beam combiner to directly image the starspots seen in the TESS photometry. With the limited phase coverage, our spot detections are marginal withmore »current data but a future dedicated observing campaign should allow for imaging, as well as allow the stellar inclination and orientation with respect to the debris disk to be definitively determined. This work shows that stellar surface maps obtained with high-cadence, time-series photometric and interferometric data can provide the constraints needed to accurately reduce RV scatter.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 16, 2022
  6. Context. As primary anchors of the distance scale, Cepheid stars play a crucial role in our understanding of the distance scale of the Universe because of their period-luminosity relation. Determining precise and consistent parameters (radius, temperature, color excess, and projection factor) of Cepheid pulsating stars is therefore very important. Aims. With the high-precision parallaxes delivered by the early third Gaia data release (EDR3), we aim to derive various parameters of Cepheid stars in order to calibrate the period-luminosity and period-radius relations and to investigate the relation of period to p -factor. Methods. We applied an implementation of the parallax-of-pulsation method through the algorithm called spectro-photo-interferometry of pulsating stars (SPIPS), which combines all types of available data for a variable star (multiband and multicolor photometry, radial velocity, effective temperature, and interferometry measurements) in a global modeling of its pulsation. Results. We present the SPIPS modeling of a sample of 63 Galactic Cepheids. Adopting Gaia EDR3 parallaxes as an input associated with the best available dataset, we derive consistent values of parameters for these stars such as the radius, multiband apparent magnitudes, effective temperatures, color excesses, period changes, Fourier parameters, and the projection factor. Conclusions. Using the best set of data andmore »the most precise distances for Milky Way Cepheids, we derive new calibrations of the period-luminosity and period-radius relations: M K S = −5.529 ±0.015   −  3.141 ±0.050 (log P   −  0.9) and log R = 1.763 ±0.003   +  0.653 ±0.012 (log P   −  0.9). After investigating the dependences of the projection factor on the parameters of the stars, we find a high dispersion of its values and no evidence of its correlation with the period or with any other parameters such as radial velocity, temperature, or metallicity. Statistically, the p -factor has an average value of p  = 1.26 ± 0.07, but with an unsatisfactory agreement ( σ  = 0.15). In absence of any clear correlation between the p -factor and other quantities, the best agreement is obtained under the assumption that the p -factor can take any value in a band with a width of 0.15. This result highlights the need for a further examination of the physics behind the p -factor.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  7. Context. Surface brightness-color relations (SBCRs) are widely used for estimating angular diameters and deriving stellar properties. They are critical to derive extragalactic distances of early-type and late-type eclipsing binaries or, potentially, for extracting planetary parameters of late-type stars hosting planets. Various SBCRs have been implemented so far, but strong discrepancies in terms of precision and accuracy still exist in the literature. Aims. We aim to develop a precise SBCR for early-type B and A stars using selection criteria, based on stellar characteristics, and combined with homogeneous interferometric angular diameter measurements. We also improve SBCRs for late-type stars, in particular in the Gaia photometric band. Methods. We observed 18 early-type stars with the VEGA interferometric instrument, installed on the CHARA array. We then applied additional criteria on the photometric measurements, together with stellar characteristics diagnostics in order to build the SBCRs. Results. We calibrated a SBCR for subgiant and dwarf early-type stars. The RMS of the relation is σ F V 0  = 0.0051 mag, leading to an average precision of 2.3% on the estimation of angular diameters, with 3.1% for V − K < −0.2 mag and 1.8% for V − K > −0.2 mag. We found that the conversion betweenmore »Johnson- K and 2MASS- K s photometries is a key issue for early-type stars. Following this result, we have revisited our previous SBCRs for late-type stars by calibrating them with either converted Johnson- K or 2MASS- K s photometries. We also improve the calibration of these SBCRs based on the Gaia photometry. The expected precision on the angular diameter using our SBCRs for late-type stars ranges from 1.0 to 2.7%. Conclusions. By reaching a precision of 2.3% on the estimation of angular diameters for early-type stars, significant progress has been made to determine extragalactic distances, such as M31 and M33 galaxies, using early-type eclipsing binaries.« less