A Consistency Test of Spectroscopic Gravities for Late-Type Stars

Allende Prieto, C.; García López, R. J.; Lambert, David L.; Gustafsson, Bengt
Bibliographical reference

The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 527, Issue 2, pp. 879-892.

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Chemical analyses of late-type stars are usually carried out following the classical recipe: LTE line formation and homogeneous, plane-parallel, flux-constant, and LTE model atmospheres. We review different results in the literature that have suggested significant inconsistencies in the spectroscopic analyses, pointing out the difficulties in deriving independent estimates of the stellar fundamental parameters and hence, detecting systematic errors. The trigonometric parallaxes measured by the Hipparcos mission provide accurate appraisals of the stellar surface gravity for nearby stars, which are used here to check the gravities obtained from the photospheric iron ionization balance. We find an approximate agreement for stars in the metallicity range -1.0<=[Fe/H]<=0, but the comparison shows that the differences between the spectroscopic and trigonometric gravities decrease toward lower metallicities for more metal-deficient dwarfs (-2.5<=[Fe/H]<=-1.0), which casts a shadow upon the abundance analyses for extreme metal-poor stars that make use of the ionization equilibrium to constrain the gravity. The comparison with the strong-line gravities derived by Edvardsson and Fuhrmann confirms that this method provide systematically larger gravities than the ionization balance. The strong-line gravities get closer to the physical ones for the stars analyzed by Fuhrmann, but they are even further away than the iron ionization gravities for the stars of lower gravities in Edvardsson's sample. The confrontation of the deviations of the iron ionization gravities in metal-poor stars, reported here with departures from the excitation balance found in the literature, show that they are likely to be induced by the same physical mechanism.