Effective temperature determinations of late-type stars based on 3D non-LTE Balmer line formation

6 Apr 2018  ·  A. M. Amarsi, T. Nordlander, P. S. Barklem, M. Asplund, R. Collet, K. Lind ·

Hydrogen Balmer lines are commonly used as spectroscopic effective temperature diagnostics of late-type stars. However, the absolute accuracy of classical methods that are based on one-dimensional (1D) hydrostatic model atmospheres and local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) is still unclear... To investigate this, we carry out 3D non-LTE calculations for the Balmer lines, performed, for the first time, over an extensive grid of 3D hydrodynamic STAGGER model atmospheres. For H$\alpha$, H$\beta$, and H$\gamma$, we find significant 1D non-LTE versus 3D non-LTE differences (3D effects): the outer wings tend to be stronger in 3D models, particularly for H$\gamma$, while the inner wings can be weaker in 3D models, particularly for H$\alpha$. For H$\alpha$, we also find significant 3D LTE versus 3D non-LTE differences (non-LTE effects): in warmer stars ($T_{\text{eff}}\approx6500$K) the inner wings tend to be weaker in non-LTE models, while at lower effective temperatures ($T_{\text{eff}}\approx4500$K) the inner wings can be stronger in non-LTE models; the non-LTE effects are more severe at lower metallicities. We test our 3D non-LTE models against observations of well-studied benchmark stars. For the Sun, we infer concordant effective temperatures from H$\alpha$, H$\beta$, and H$\gamma$; however the value is too low by around 50K which could signal residual modelling shortcomings. For other benchmark stars, our 3D non-LTE models generally reproduce the effective temperatures to within $1\sigma$ uncertainties. For H$\alpha$, the absolute 3D effects and non-LTE effects can separately reach around 100K, in terms of inferred effective temperatures. For metal-poor turn-off stars, 1D LTE models of H$\alpha$ can underestimate effective temperatures by around 150K. Our 3D non-LTE model spectra are publicly available, and can be used for more reliable spectroscopic effective temperature determinations. read more

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Solar and Stellar Astrophysics