Accurate abundance analysis of late-type stars: advances in atomic physics

Review Article

Abstract

The measurement of stellar properties such as chemical compositions, masses and ages, through stellar spectra, is a fundamental problem in astrophysics. Progress in the understanding, calculation and measurement of atomic properties and processes relevant to the high-accuracy analysis of F-, G-, and K-type stellar spectra is reviewed, with particular emphasis on abundance analysis. This includes fundamental atomic data such as energy levels, wavelengths, and transition probabilities, as well as processes of photoionisation, collisional broadening and inelastic collisions. A recurring theme throughout the review is the interplay between theoretical atomic physics, laboratory measurements, and astrophysical modelling, all of which contribute to our understanding of atoms and atomic processes, as well as to modelling stellar spectra.

Keywords

Abundances Chemical composition Stellar atmospheres Atomic processes and interactions Atomic and molecular data 

Abbreviations

ABO

Anstee, Barklem and O’Mara

ASD

Atomic Spectra Database (at NIST)

ATLAS

Model stellar atmosphere computer program by Kurucz

AUTOSTRUCTURE

Atomic structure computer program by Badnell

BSR

B-Spline R-matrix

CCC

Convergent close coupling

CCD

Charge-coupled device

CIV3

Atomic structure computer program by Hibbert

DESIREE

Double ElectroStatic Ion Ring ExpEriment

DSB

Derouich, Sahal-Bréchot and Barklem

ESO

European Southern Observatory

FARM

R-matrix computer program for external region problem by Burke and Noble

HBOP

Hydrogen Bound and bound–free OPacity code

HLINOP

Hydrogen LINe OPacity computer code by Barklem and Piskunov

HLINPROF

Hydrogen LINe PROFile computer code by Barklem and Piskunov

IDL

Interactive Data Language

KAULAKYS

Computer program for Kaulaky’s free-electron model by Barklem

LFU

Lindholm–Foley–Unsöld

LTE

Local thermodynamic equilibrium

MARCS

Model stellar atmosphere computer program by Gustafsson et al.

MOOG

Stellar spectrum synthesis computer program by Sneden

MSWAVEF

Momentum-Space WAVEFunction computer code by Barklem

NIST

National Institute of Standards and Technology (USA)

RMATRX I

R-matrix computer program for internal region problem by Berrington et al.

RMPS

R-matrix with pseudo-states

STARK-B

Stark broadening database

STGF

R-matrix computer program for external region problem by Berrington et al.

SUPERSTRUCTURE

Atomic structure computer program by Eissner et al.

TOPbase

Opacity Project on-line atomic database

VALD

Vienna Atomic Line Database

VAMDC

Virtual Atomic and Molecular Data Centre

Notes

Acknowledgments

This review owes particularly large debts to two great scientists, Jim O’Mara and Andrey Belyaev. I have benefitted immeasurably from having long-term scientific collaborations with them. They have taught me not only physics and astrophysics, but been models of how to do science honestly and ethically. I have learnt from them the value of analytic understanding, often with Jim on the “back-of the-envelope”. They showed me by example how to work carefully on hard problems on long timescales. I am grateful to them both. I thank the many other collaborators who have contributed to work presented here. In particular, I wish to thank Stuart Anstee, Jenny Aspelund-Johansson, Juan Manuel Borrero, Remo Collet, Moncef Derouich, Alan Dickinson, Laine Falklund, Nicole Feautrier, Xavier Gadéa, Marie Guitou, Yeisson Osorio, Sylvie Sahal-Bréchot, and Annie Spielfiedel, for collaboration on various problems in atomic physics over the years. I thank also my many colleagues at Uppsala, past and present, for providing a stimulating and pleasant environment to work in. I thank Igor Bray for clarifications regarding the CCC method. This review and much of the work in it would not have been possible without financial support from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, Goran Gustafssons Stiftelse and the Swedish Research Council. For much of this work I was a Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Research Fellow supported by a grant from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. I am presently partially supported by the project grant “The New Milky Way” from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Theoretical Astrophysics, Department of Physics and AstronomyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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