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  1. Abstract

    Accurate tracers of the stellar magnetic field and rotation are cornerstones for the study of M dwarfs and for reliable detection and characterization of their exoplanetary companions. Such measurements are particularly challenging for old, slowly rotating, fully convective M dwarfs. To explore the use of new activity and rotation tracers, we examined multiyear near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopic monitoring of two such stars—GJ 699 (Barnard’s Star) and Teegarden’s Star—carried out with the Habitable-zone Planet Finder spectrograph. We detected periodic variations in absorption line widths across the stellar spectrum, with higher amplitudes toward longer wavelengths. We also detected similar variations in the strength and width of the 12435.67 Å neutral potassium (Ki) line, a known tracer of the photospheric magnetic field. Attributing these variations to rotational modulation, we confirm the known 145 ± 15 day rotation period of GJ 699, and measure the rotation period of Teegarden’s Star to be 99.6 ± 1.4 days. Based on simulations of the Kiline and the wavelength dependence of the line-width signal, we argue that the observed signals are consistent with varying photospheric magnetic fields and the associated Zeeman effect. These results highlight the value of detailed line profile measurements in the NIR for diagnosing stellar magnetic field variability. Such measurements may be pivotal for disentangling activity and exoplanet-related signals in spectroscopic monitoring of old, low-mass stars.

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  2. Abstract We present a spectroscopic analysis of a sample of 48 M-dwarf stars (0.2 M ⊙ < M < 0.6 M ⊙ ) from the Hyades open cluster using high-resolution H -band spectra from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey/Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) survey. Our methodology adopts spectrum synthesis with LTE MARCS model atmospheres, along with the APOGEE Data Release 17 line list, to determine effective temperatures, surface gravities, metallicities, and projected rotational velocities. The median metallicity obtained for the Hyades M dwarfs is [M/H] = 0.09 ± 0.03 dex, indicating a small internal uncertainty and good agreement with optical results for Hyades red giants. Overall, the median radii are larger than predicted by stellar models by 1.6% ± 2.3% and 2.4% ± 2.3%, relative to a MIST and DARTMOUTH isochrone, respectively. We emphasize, however, that these isochrones are different, and the fractional radius inflation for the fully and partially convective regimes have distinct behaviors depending on the isochrone. Using a MIST isochrone there is no evidence of radius inflation for the fully convective stars, while for the partially convective M dwarfs the radii are inflated by 2.7% ± 2.1%, which is in agreement with predictions from models that include magnetic fields. For the partially convective stars, rapid rotators present on average higher inflation levels than slow rotators. The comparison with SPOTS isochrone models indicates that the derived M-dwarf radii can be explained by accounting for stellar spots in the photosphere of the stars, with 76% of the studied M dwarfs having up to 20% spot coverage, and the most inflated stars with ∼20%–40% spot coverage. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  3. Abstract The physical properties of transiting exoplanets are connected with the physical properties of their host stars. We present a homogeneous spectroscopic analysis based on the spectra of FGK-type stars observed with the Hydra spectrograph on the WIYN telescope. We derived the effective temperatures, surface gravities, and metallicities, for 81 stars observed by K2 and 33 by Kepler 1. We constructed an Fe i and ii line list that is adequate for the analysis of R ∼ 18,000 spectra covering 6050–6350 Å and adopted the spectroscopic technique based on equivalent-width measurements. The calculations were done in LTE using Kurucz model atmospheres and the qoyllur-quipu ( q 2 ) package. We validated our methodology via an analysis of a benchmark solar twin and solar proxies, which are used as a solar reference. We estimated the effects that including Zeeman-sensitive Fe i lines have on the derived stellar parameters for young and possibly active stars in our sample and found them not to be significant. Stellar masses and radii were derived by combining the stellar parameters with Gaia EDR3 and V magnitudes and isochrones. The measured stellar radii have a 4.2% median internal precision, leading to a median internal uncertainty of 4.4% in the derived planetary radii. With our sample of 83 confirmed planets orbiting K2 host stars, the radius gap near R planet ∼ 1.9 R ⊕ is detected, in agreement with previous findings. Relations between the planetary radius, orbital period, and metallicity are explored and these also confirm previous findings for Kepler 1 systems. 
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  4. Abstract Individual chemical abundances for 14 elements (C, O, Na, Mg, Al, Si, K, Ca, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, and Ni) are derived for a sample of M dwarfs using high-resolution, near-infrared H -band spectra from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-IV/Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) survey. The quantitative analysis included synthetic spectra computed with 1D LTE plane-parallel MARCS models using the APOGEE Data Release 17 line list to determine chemical abundances. The sample consists of 11 M dwarfs in binary systems with warmer FGK dwarf primaries and 10 measured interferometric angular diameters. To minimize atomic diffusion effects, [X/Fe] ratios are used to compare M dwarfs in binary systems and literature results for their warmer primary stars, indicating good agreement (<0.08 dex) for all studied elements. The mean abundance difference in primaries minus this work’s M dwarfs is −0.05 ± 0.03 dex. It indicates that M dwarfs in binary systems are a reliable way to calibrate empirical relationships. A comparison with abundance, effective temperature, and surface gravity results from the APOGEE Stellar Parameter and Chemical Abundances Pipeline (ASPCAP) Data Release 16 finds a systematic offset of [M/H], T eff , log g = +0.21 dex, −50 K, and 0.30 dex, respectively, although ASPCAP [X/Fe] ratios are generally consistent with this study. The metallicities of the M dwarfs cover the range of [Fe/H] = −0.9 to +0.4 and are used to investigate Galactic chemical evolution via trends of [X/Fe] as a function of [Fe/H]. The behavior of the various elemental abundances [X/Fe] versus [Fe/H] agrees well with the corresponding trends derived from warmer FGK dwarfs, demonstrating that the APOGEE spectra can be used to examine Galactic chemical evolution using large samples of selected M dwarfs. 
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  5. null (Ed.)