Indexed on: 07 Nov '08Published on: 07 Nov '08Published in: Astrophysics
We investigate the ability of both LTE and Non-LTE models to fit the near UV band absolute flux distribution and individual spectral line profiles of three standard stars for which high quality spectrophotometry and high resolution spectroscopy are available: The Sun (G2 V), Arcturus (K2 III), and Procyon (F5 IV-V). We investigate 1) the effect of the choice of atomic line list on the ability of NLTE models to fit the near UV band flux level, 2) the amount of a hypothesized continuous thermal absorption extinction source required to allow NLTE models to fit the observations, and 3) the semi-empirical temperature structure required to fit the observations with NLTE models and standard continuous near UV extinction. We find that all models that are computed with high quality atomic line lists predict too much flux in the near UV band for Arcturus, but fit the warmer stars well. The variance among independent measurements of the solar irradiance in the near UV is sufficiently large that we cannot definitely conclude that models predict too much near UV flux, in contrast to other recent results. We surmise that the inadequacy of current atmospheric models of K giants in the near UV band is best addressed by hypothesizing that there is still missing continuous thermal extinction, and that the missing near UV extinction becomes more important with decreasing effective temperature for spectral classes later than early G, suggesting a molecular origin.