Atmospheric models of red giants with massive scale NLTE

Research paper by C. I. Short, P. H. Hauschildt

Indexed on: 25 Jun '03Published on: 25 Jun '03Published in: Astrophysics


We present plane-parallel and spherical LTE and NLTE atmospheric models of a variety of stellar parameters of the red giant star Arcturus (alpha Boo, HD124897, HR5340) and study their ability to fit the measured absolute flux distribution. Our NLTE models include tens of thousands of the strongest lines in NLTE, and we investigate separately the effects of treating the light metals and the Fe group elements Fe and Ti in NLTE. We find that the NLTE effects of Fe group elements on the model structure and flux distribution are much more important than the NLTE effects of all the light metals combined, and serve to substantially increases the violet and near UV flux level as a result of NLTE Fe over-ionization. Both the LTE and NLTE models predict significantly more flux in the blue and UV bands than is observed. We find that within the moderately metal-poor metallicity range, the effect of NLTE on the overall UV flux level decreases with decreasing metallicity. These results suggest that there may still be important UV opacity missing from the models. We find that models of solar metallicity giants of similar spectral type to Arcturus fit well the observed flux distributions of those stars from the red to the near UV band. This suggests that the blue and near UV flux discrepancy is metallicity dependent, increasing with decreasing metallicity.