Accurate Atmospheric Parameters at Moderate Resolution Using Spectral Indices: Preliminary Application to the MARVELS Survey

Ghezzi, L.; Dutra-Ferreira, Letícia; Lorenzo-Oliveira, Diego; Porto de Mello, Gustavo F.; Santiago, Basílio X.; De Lee, Nathan; Lee, Brian L.; da Costa, Luiz N.; Maia, Marcio A. G.; Ogando, Ricardo L. C.; Wisniewski, John P.; González Hernández, J. I.; Stassun, Keivan G.; Fleming, Scott W.; Schneider, Donald P.; Mahadevan, Suvrath; Cargile, Phillip; Ge, Jian; Pepper, Joshua; Wang, Ji; Paegert, Martin
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The Astronomical Journal, Volume 148, Issue 6, article id. 105, 21 pp. (2014).

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Studies of Galactic chemical, and dynamical evolution in the solar neighborhood depend on the availability of precise atmospheric parameters (effective temperature T eff, metallicity [Fe/H], and surface gravity log g) for solar-type stars. Many large-scale spectroscopic surveys operate at low to moderate spectral resolution for efficiency in observing large samples, which makes the stellar characterization difficult due to the high degree of blending of spectral features. Therefore, most surveys employ spectral synthesis, which is a powerful technique, but relies heavily on the completeness and accuracy of atomic line databases and can yield possibly correlated atmospheric parameters. In this work, we use an alternative method based on spectral indices to determine the atmospheric parameters of a sample of nearby FGK dwarfs and subgiants observed by the MARVELS survey at moderate resolving power (R ~ 12,000). To avoid a time-consuming manual analysis, we have developed three codes to automatically normalize the observed spectra, measure the equivalent widths of the indices, and, through a comparison of those with values calculated with predetermined calibrations, estimate the atmospheric parameters of the stars. The calibrations were derived using a sample of 309 stars with precise stellar parameters obtained from the analysis of high-resolution FEROS spectra, permitting the low-resolution equivalent widths to be directly related to the stellar parameters. A validation test of the method was conducted with a sample of 30 MARVELS targets that also have reliable atmospheric parameters derived from the high-resolution spectra and spectroscopic analysis based on the excitation and ionization equilibria method. Our approach was able to recover the parameters within 80 K for T eff, 0.05 dex for [Fe/H], and 0.15 dex for log g, values that are lower than or equal to the typical external uncertainties found between different high-resolution analyses. An additional test was performed with a subsample of 138 stars from the ELODIE stellar library, and the literature atmospheric parameters were recovered within 125 K for T eff, 0.10 dex for [Fe/H], and 0.29 dex for log g. These precisions are consistent with or better than those provided by the pipelines of surveys operating with similar resolutions. These results show that the spectral indices are a competitive tool to characterize stars with intermediate resolution spectra. Based on observations obtained with the 2.2 m MPG telescope at the European Southern Observatory (La Silla, Chile), under the agreement ESO-Observatório Nacional/MCT, and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which is owned and operated by the Astrophysical Research Consortium.
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