Precision Stellar Characterization of FGKM Stars using an Empirical Spectral Library [SSA]

Classification of stars, by comparing their optical spectra to a few dozen spectral standards, has been a workhorse of observational astronomy for more than a century. Here, we extend this technique by compiling a library of optical spectra of 404 touchstone stars observed with Keck/HIRES by the California Planet Search. The spectra are high-resolution (R~60000), high signal-to-noise (SNR~150/pixel), and registered onto a common wavelength scale. The library stars have properties derived from interferometry, asteroseismology, LTE spectral synthesis, and spectrophotometry. To address a lack of well-characterized late K-dwarfs in the literature, we measure stellar radii and temperatures for 23 nearby K-dwarfs, using SED modeling and Gaia parallaxes. This library represents a uniform dataset spanning the spectral types ~M5–F1 (Teff ~ 3000-7000K, Rstar ~ 0.1-1.6 Rsun). We also present “Empirical SpecMatch” (SpecMatch-Emp), a tool for parameterizing unknown spectra by comparing them against our spectral library. For FGKM stars, SpecMatch-Emp achieves accuracies of 100 K in effective temperature (Teff), 15% in stellar radius (Rstar), and 0.09 dex in metallicity [Fe/H]. Because the code relies on empirical spectra it performs particularly well for stars ~K4 and later which are challenging to model with existing spectral synthesizers, reaching accuracies of 70 K in Teff, 10% in Rstar, and 0.12 dex in [Fe/H]. We also validate the performance of SpecMatch-Emp, finding it to be robust at lower spectral resolution and SNR, enabling the characterization of faint late-type stars. Both the library and stellar characterization code are publicly available.

Read this paper on arXiv…

S. Yee, E. Petigura and K. Braun
Thu, 5 Jan 17

Comments: 29 pages, 14 figures, accepted to ApJ