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Prospecting in Ultracool Dwarfs: Measuring the Metallicities of Mid- and Late-M Dwarfs  [PDF]
Andrew W. Mann,Niall R. Deacon,Eric Gaidos,Megan Ansdell,John M. Brewer,Michael C. Liu,Eugene A. Magnier,Kimberly M. Aller
Physics , 2014, DOI: 10.1088/0004-6256/147/6/160
Abstract: Metallicity is a fundamental parameter that contributes to the physical characteristics of a star. However, the low temperatures and complex molecules present in M dwarf atmospheres make it difficult to measure their metallicities using techniques that have been commonly used for Sun-like stars. Although there has been significant progress in developing empirical methods to measure M dwarf metallicities over the last few years, these techniques have been developed primarily for early- to mid-M dwarfs. We present a method to measure the metallicity of mid- to late-M dwarfs from moderate resolution (R~2000) K-band (2.2 microns) spectra. We calibrate our formula using 44 wide binaries containing an F, G, K, or early M primary of known metallicity and a mid- to late-M dwarf companion. We show that similar features and techniques used for early M dwarfs are still effective for late-M dwarfs. Our revised calibration is accurate to 0.07 dex for M4.5-M9.5 dwarfs with -0.58<[Fe/H]<+0.56 and shows no systematic trends with spectral type, metallicity, or the method used to determine the primary star metallicity. We show that our method gives consistent metallicities for the components of M+M wide binaries. We verify that our new formula works for unresolved binaries by combining spectra of single stars. Lastly, we show that our calibration gives consistent metallicities with the Mann et al. (2013a) study for overlapping (M4-M5) stars, establishing that the two calibrations can be used in combination to determine metallicities across the entire M dwarf sequence.
Near-infrared Metallicities, Radial Velocities and Spectral Types for 447 Nearby M Dwarfs  [PDF]
Elisabeth R. Newton,David Charbonneau,Jonathan Irwin,Zachory K. Berta-Thompson,Barbara Rojas-Ayala,Kevin Covey,James P. Lloyd
Physics , 2013, DOI: 10.1088/0004-6256/147/1/20
Abstract: We present metallicities, radial velocities and near-infrared spectral types for 447 M dwarfs determined from moderate resolution (R~2000) near-infrared (NIR) spectra obtained with IRTF/SpeX. These M dwarfs are targets of the MEarth Survey, a transiting planet survey searching for super Earths around mid-to-late M dwarfs within 33pc. We present NIR spectral types and new IRTF spectral templates in the Z, J, H and K-bands, created using M dwarfs with near-solar metallicities. We developed two spectroscopic distance calibrations that use NIR spectral type or an index based on the curvature of the K-band continuum. Our distance calibration has a scatter of 14%. We searched 27 NIR spectral lines and 10 spectral indices for metallicity sensitive features, taking into account correlated noise in our estimates of the errors on these parameters. We calibrated our relation using 36 M dwarfs in common proper pairs with an F, G or K-type star of known metallicity. We validated the physical association of these pairs using proper motions, radial velocities and spectroscopic distance estimates. Our resulting metallicity calibration uses the sodium doublet at 2.2um as the sole indicator for metallicity. It has an accuracy of 0.12dex inferred from the scatter between the metallicities of the primaries and the estimated metallicities of the secondaries. Our relation is valid for NIR spectral types from M1V to M5V and for -1.0<[Fe/H]<+0.35dex. We present a new metallicity relation using J-H and J-K colors that directly relates two observables: the distance from the M dwarf main sequence and equivalent width of the sodium line at 2.2um. We measured radial velocities by modeling telluric features to determine the absolute wavelength calibration of our spectra, and used M dwarf binaries, observations at different epochs, and comparison to precisely measured radial velocities to demonstrate 4.4km/s accuracy.
Testing the Metal of Late-Type Kepler Planet Hosts with Iron-Clad Methods  [PDF]
Andrew W. Mann,Eric Gaidos,Adam Kraus,Eric J. Hilton
Physics , 2013, DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/770/1/43
Abstract: It has been shown that F, G, and early K dwarf hosts of Neptune-sized planets are not preferentially metal-rich. However, it is less clear whether the same holds for late K and M dwarf planet hosts. We report metallicities of Kepler targets and candidate transiting planet hosts with effective temperatures below 4500 K. We use new metallicity calibrations to determine [Fe/H] from visible and near-infrared spectra. We find that the metallicity distribution of late K and M dwarfs monitored by Kepler is consistent with that of the solar neighborhood. Further, we show that hosts of Earth- to Neptune-sized planets have metallicities consistent with those lacking detected planets and rule out a previously claimed 0.2 dex offset between the two distributions at 6sigma confidence. We also demonstrate that the metallicities of late K and M dwarfs hosting multiple detected planets are consistent with those lacking detected planets. Our results indicate that multiple terrestrial and Neptune-sized planets can form around late K and M dwarfs with metallicities as low as 0.25 of the solar value. The presence of Neptune-sized planets orbiting such low-metallicity M dwarfs suggests that accreting planets collect most or all of the solids from the disk and that the potential cores of giant planets can readily form around M dwarfs. The paucity of giant planets around M dwarfs compared to solar-type stars must be due to relatively rapid disk evaporation or a slower rate of core accretion, rather than insufficient solids to form a core.
Metallicities of nearby K-dwarfs  [PDF]
Eira Kotoneva,Chris Flynn
Physics , 1999, DOI: 10.1023/A:1002194112746
Abstract: The so-called ``G-dwarf problem'' emerged in the 1960's when it was noticed that the observed metal distribution of nearby stars differs from what is expected in simple models of the evolution of the Galaxy. We have determined metallicities for a sample of over 100 K dwarfs drawn from the Hipparcos catalog, using R-I colours to estimate effective temperatures and Geneva photometry to estimate [Fe/H]. We show there is a K-dwarf problem. K-dwarfs have life-times older than the Galactic disc, so these are an ideal star with which to investigate the disc's chemical evolution. Further photometric observations of K dwarfs are under way.
Metallicities and kinematics of G and K dwarfs  [PDF]
Chris Flynn,Olof Morell
Physics , 1996, DOI: 10.1093/mnras/286.3.617
Abstract: We have developed a photometric abundance indicator for G and K dwarfs, based on accurate, spectroscopically determined abundances for G and K dwarfs of Morell, K\"allander and Butcher (1992) and Morell (1994). Broadband Cousins R-I photometry is used to estimate effective temperature and the Geneva b_1 colour to estimate line blanketing in the blue and hence abundance. Abundances can be derived in the range -2.0<[Fe/H]<0.5 for G0 to K3 dwarfs, with a scatter in [Fe/H] of 0.2 dex. We apply the method to a sample of Gliese catalog G and K dwarfs, and examine the metallicity and kinematic properties of the stars. The stars show the well established observational features of the disk, thick disk and halo in the solar neighbourhood. We find that the distribution of local K dwarf metallicity is quite similar to local G dwarfs, indicating that there is a ``K-dwarf'' as well as a G-dwarf problem.
A Spectroscopic Catalog of the Brightest (J<9) M Dwarfs in the Northern Sky  [PDF]
Sebastien Lepine,Eric J. Hilton,Andrew W. Mann,Matthew Wilde,Barbara Rojas-Ayala,Kelle L. Cruz,Eric Gaidos
Physics , 2012, DOI: 10.1088/0004-6256/145/4/102
Abstract: We present a spectroscopic catalog of the 1,564 brightest (J<9) M dwarf candidates in the northern sky, as selected from the SUPERBLINK proper motion catalog. Observations confirm 1,408 of the candidates to be late-K and M dwarfs with spectral subtypes K7-M6. From the low \mu>40 mas/yr proper motion limit and high level of completeness of the SUPERBLINK catalog in that magnitude range, we estimate that our spectroscopic census most likely includes >90% of all existing, northern-sky M dwarfs with apparent magnitude J<9. Only 682 stars in our sample are listed in the Third Catalog of Nearby Stars (CNS3); most others are relative unknowns and have spectroscopic data presented here for the first time. Spectral subtypes are assigned based on spectral index measurements of CaH and TiO molecular bands. A comparison of spectra from the same stars obtained at different observatories however reveals that spectral band index measurements are dependent on spectral resolution, spectrophotometric calibration, and other instrumental factors. After systematic corrections and a recalibration of the subtype-index relationships, we find that we can consistently and reliably classify all our stars to a half-subtype precision. The use of corrected spectral indices further requires us to recalibrate the \zeta parameter, from which we estimate metallicities +/-0.5dex accuracy in dwarfs of subtypes M2 and earlier, and +/-0.2dex accuracy for later (M3-M5) subtypes. Existing geometric parallax measurements are extracted from the literature for 624 stars, and are used to determine spectroscopic and photometric distances for all the other stars. Our catalog will be most useful to guide the selection of the best M dwarf targets for exoplanet searches, in particular those using high-precision radial velocity measurements.
On the Metal-Richness of M Dwarfs with Planets  [PDF]
John A. Johnson,Kevin Apps
Physics , 2009, DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/699/2/933
Abstract: Knowledge of the metallicities of M dwarfs rests predominantly on the photometric calibration of Bonfils and collaborators, which predicts that M dwarfs in the solar neighborhood, including those with known planets, are systematically metal-poor compared to their higher-mass counterparts. We test this prediction using a volume-limited sample of low-mass stars, together with a subset of M dwarfs with high-metallicity, F, G amd K wide binary companions. We find that the Bonfils et al. photometric calibration systematically underestimates the metallicities of our high-metallicity M dwarfs by an average of 0.32 dex. We derive a new photometric metallicity calibration and show that M dwarfs with planets appear to be systematically metal-rich, a result that is consistent with the metallicity distribution of FGK dwarfs with planets.
Population gradients and photometric metallicities in early- and transition-type dwarf galaxies: Clues from the Sculptor group  [PDF]
S. Lianou,E. Grebel,G. S. Da Costa,M. Rejkuba,H. Jerjen,A. Koch
Physics , 2012, DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201219959
Abstract: We focus on the resolved stellar populations of one early- and four transition-type dwarf galaxies in the Sculptor group, with the aim to examine the potential presence of population gradients and place constraints on their mean metallicities. We use deep HST images to construct CMDs, from which we select stellar populations that trace different evolutionary phases in order to constrain their range of ages and metallicities, as well as to examine their spatial distribution. In addition, we use the resolved stars in the RGB in order to derive photometric metallicities. All studied dwarfs contain intermediate-age stars with ages of ~1Gyr and older as traced by the luminous asymptotic giant branch and red clump stars, while the transition-type dwarfs contain also stars younger than ~1Gyr as traced by a young main sequence and vertical red clump stars. Moreover, the spatial distribution of the stars that trace different evolutionary phases shows a population gradient in all transition-type dwarfs. The derived error-weighted mean metallicities, assuming purely old stellar populations, range from -1.5dex for ESO294-G010 to -1.9dex for Scl-dE1, and should be considered as lower limits to their true metallicities. Assuming intermediate-age stellar populations to dominate the dwarfs, we derive upper limits for the metallicities that are 0.3 to 0.2 dex higher than the metallicities derived assuming purely old populations. We discuss how photometric metallicity gradients are affected by the age-metallicity degeneracy, which prevents strong conclusions regarding their actual presence. Finally, the transition-type dwarfs lie beyond the virial radius of their closest bright galaxy, as also observed for the LG transition-type dwarfs. Scl-dE1 is the only dSph in our sample and is an outlier in a potential morphology-distance relation, similar as the two isolated dSphs of the LG, Tucana and Cetus.
Near infrared spectroscopy of M dwarfs. III. Carbon and oxygen abundances in late M dwarfs including the dusty rapid rotator 2MASSI J1835379+325954  [PDF]
Takashi Tsuji,Tadashi Nakajima
Physics , 2015,
Abstract: Carbon and oxygen abundances of eight late M dwarfs are determined based on the near IR spectra of medium resolution. Seven objects with T_eff above 2600K are analyzed with the dust-free models. The M8.5 dwarf 2MASSI J1835379+325954 whose T_eff is 2275K is analyzed by the dusty model, in which the surface temperature is higher by about 600K due to the blanketing effect of the dust, and C and O abundances are higher by 0.25 and 0.15dex, respectively, compared to the analysis by the dust-free model. Once dust forms in the photosphere, the dust works as a kind of thermostat and temperatures of the surface layers remain nearly the same as the condensation temperatures of the dust grains. For this reason, the temperatures of the surface layers of the dusty dwarfs are not sensitive to the fundamental parameters including T_eff. Also, 2MASS J1835379 +325954 is a rapid rotator, for which its EWs are thought to remain unchanged by the rotational broadening. This is, however, true only when the true continuum is well defined. Otherwise, the pseudo-continuum level depends on the rotational velocity and hence the EWs as well. For this reason, the derived abundances depend on the rotational velocity assumed: For the values of V_rot*sin(i)=37.6 and 44.0km/s available in the literature, the derived C and O abundances differ by 0.23 and 0.14dex, respectively, and we find that the higher value provides a better account of the observed spectrum. The resulting C and O abundances in our late M dwarfs show no systematic difference from our results for the early and middle M dwarfs, and confirm the higher O/C ratio at the lower metallicity. In late M dwarfs, CO and H2O remain as excellent abundance indicators of C and O, respectively, except for additional uncertainty due to the complexity associated with the dust formation in the latest M dwarfs.
Automated identification of 2612 late-k and M dwarfs in the LAMOST commissioining data using the classification template fits  [PDF]
Jing Zhong,Sebastien Lepine,Jinliang Hou,Shyin Shen,Haibo Yuan,Zhiying Huo,Huihua Zhang,Maosheng Xiang,Huawai Zhang,Xiaowe Liu
Physics , 2015, DOI: 10.1088/0004-6256/150/2/42
Abstract: We develop a template-fit method to automatically identify and classify late-type K and M dwarfs in spectra from the LAMOST. A search of the commissioning data, acquired in 2009-2010, yields the identification of 2612 late-K and M dwarfs. The template fit method also provides spectral classification to half a subtype, classifies the stars along the dwarf-subdwarf metallicity sequence, and provides improved metallicity/gravity information on a finer scale. The automated search and classification is performed using a set of cool star templates assembled from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey spectroscopic database. We show that the stars can be efficiently classified despite shortcomings in the LAMOST commissioning data which include bright sky lines in the red. In particular we find that the absolute and relative strengths of the critical TiO and CaH molecular bands around 7000A are cleanly measured, which provides accurate spectral typing from late-K to mid-M, and makes it possible to estimate metallicities in a way that is more efficient and reliable than with the use of spectral indices or spectral-index based parameters such as zeta. Most of the cool dwarfs observed by LAMOST are found to be metal-rich dwarfs. We use a calibration of spectral type to absolute magnitude and estimate spectroscopic distances for all the stars; we also recover proper motions from the SUPERBLINK and PPMXL catalogs. Our analysis of the estimated transverse motions suggests a mean velocity and standard deviation for the UVW components of velocity to be: U=-9.8 km/s; V=-22.8 km/s; W=-7.9 km/s. The resulting values are general agreement with previous reported results, which yields confidence in our spectral classification and spectroscopic distance estimates, and illustrates the potential for using LAMOST spectra of K and M dwarfs for investigating the chemo-kinematics of the local Galactic disk and halo.
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