The interpretation of observed spectra of stars in terms of fundamental stellar properties is a key problem in astrophysics. For FGK-type stars, the radiative transfer models are often computed using the assumption of local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE). Its validity is often questionable and needs to be supported by detailed studies, which build upon the consistent framework of non-LTE. In this review, we outline the theory of non-LTE. The processes causing departures from LTE are introduced qualitatively by their physical interpretation, as well as quantitatively by their impact on the models of stellar spectra and element abundances. We also compile and analyse the most recent results from the literature. In particular, we examine the non-LTE effects for 24 chemical elements for six late-studied FGK-type stars.
M. Bergemann and T. Nordlander
Fri, 14 Mar 14