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See detailSpectral Analysis and Abundances of the Post-HB Star HD 76431
Khalack, V.; Yameogo, B.; LeBlanc, F. et al

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (in press)

HD76431 is a slow rotating post-HB star that shows an underabundance of helium by 0.5 dex relative to the solar value. These observational facts suggest that atomic diffusion could be active in its ... [more ▼]

HD76431 is a slow rotating post-HB star that shows an underabundance of helium by 0.5 dex relative to the solar value. These observational facts suggest that atomic diffusion could be active in its atmosphere. We have used the MMT and Bok spectra to estimate the atmospheric parameters of the target star using the model atmospheres and synthetic spectra calculated with TLUSTY and SYNSPEC. The derived values of the effective temperature, surface gravity, helium abundance are consistent with those obtained by Ramspeck et al. (2001b). It appears that NLTE effect are not important for HD76431. We have used Stokes I spectra from ESPaDOnS at CFHT to perform an abundance analysis and a search for observational evidence of vertical stratification of the abundance of certain elements. The results of our abundance analysis are in good agreement with previously published data with respect to average abundances. Our numerical simulations show that carbon and nitrogen reveal signatures of vertical abundance stratification in the atmosphere of HD76431. It appears that the carbon abundance increases toward the deeper atmospheric layers. Nitrogen also shows a similar behaviour, but in deeper atmospheric layers we obtain a significant dispersion for the estimates of its abundance. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of vertical abundance stratification of metals in a post-HB star and up to now it is the hottest star to show such stratification features. We also report the detection of two SiIII and one TiIII emission lines in the spectra of HD76431 that were not detected in previous studies. [less ▲]

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See detailA BCool magnetic snapshot survey of solar-type stars
Marsden, S.C.; Petit, P.; Jeffers, S.V. et al

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2014), 444

We present the results of a major high-resolution spectropolarimetric BCool project magnetic survey of 170 solar-type stars. Surface magnetic fields were detected on 67 stars, with 21 classified as mature ... [more ▼]

We present the results of a major high-resolution spectropolarimetric BCool project magnetic survey of 170 solar-type stars. Surface magnetic fields were detected on 67 stars, with 21 classified as mature solar-type stars, a result that increases by a factor of 4 the number of mature solar-type stars on which magnetic fields have been observed. In addition, a magnetic field was detected for 3 out of 18 of the subgiant stars surveyed. For the population of K-dwarfs, the mean value of |Bl| (|Bl|mean) was also found to be higher (5.7 G) than |Bl|mean measured for the G-dwarfs (3.2 G) and the F-dwarfs (3.3 G). For the sample as a whole, |Bl|mean increases with rotation rate and decreases with age, and the upper envelope for |Bl| correlates well with the observed chromospheric emission. Stars with a chromospheric S-index greater than about 0.2 show a high magnetic field detection rate and so offer optimal targets for future studies. This survey constitutes the most extensive spectropolarimetric survey of cool stars undertaken to date, and suggests that it is feasible to pursue magnetic mapping of a wide range of moderately active solar-type stars to improve our understanding of their surface fields and dynamos. [less ▲]

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See detailThe PLATO 2.0 Mission
Rauer, H.; Catala, C.; Aerts, C. et al

in Experimental Astronomy (2014)

PLATO 2.0 has recently been selected for ESA’s M3 launch opportunity (2022/24). Providing accurate key planet parameters (radius, mass, density and age) in statistical numbers, it addresses fundamental ... [more ▼]

PLATO 2.0 has recently been selected for ESA’s M3 launch opportunity (2022/24). Providing accurate key planet parameters (radius, mass, density and age) in statistical numbers, it addresses fundamental questions such as: How do planetary systems form and evolve? Are there other systems with planets like ours, including potentially habitable planets? The PLATO 2.0 instrument consists of 34 small aperture telescopes (32 with 25 s readout cadence and 2 with 2.5 s candence) providing a wide field-of-view (2232 deg 2) and a large photometric magnitude range (4–16 mag). It focusses on bright (4–11 mag) stars in wide fields to detect and characterize planets down to Earth-size by photometric transits, whose masses can then be determined by ground-based radial-velocity follow-up measurements. Asteroseismology will be performed for these bright stars to obtain highly accurate stellar parameters, including masses and ages. The combination of bright targets and asteroseismology results in high accuracy for the bulk planet parameters: 2 %, 4–10 % and 10 % for planet radii, masses and ages, respectively. The planned baseline observing strategy includes two long pointings (2–3 years) to detect and bulk characterize planets reaching into the habitable zone (HZ) of solar-like stars and an additional step-and-stare phase to cover in total about 50 % of the sky. PLATO 2.0 will observe up to 1,000,000 stars and detect and characterize hundreds of small planets, and thousands of planets in the Neptune to gas giant regime out to the HZ. It will therefore provide the first large-scale catalogue of bulk characterized planets with accurate radii, masses, mean densities and ages. This catalogue will include terrestrial planets at intermediate orbital distances, where surface temperatures are moderate. Coverage of this parameter range with statistical numbers of bulk characterized planets is unique to PLATO 2.0. The PLATO 2.0 catalogue allows us to e.g.: - complete our knowledge of planet diversity for low-mass objects, - correlate the planet mean density-orbital distance distribution with predictions from planet formation theories,- constrain the influence of planet migration and scattering on the architecture of multiple systems, and - specify how planet and system parameters change with host star characteristics, such as type, metallicity and age. The catalogue will allow us to study planets and planetary systems at different evolutionary phases. It will further provide a census for small, low-mass planets. This will serve to identify objects which retained their primordial hydrogen atmosphere and in general the typical characteristics of planets in such low-mass, low-density range. Planets detected by PLATO 2.0 will orbit bright stars and many of them will be targets for future atmosphere spectroscopy exploring their atmosphere. Furthermore, the mission has the potential to detect exomoons, planetary rings, binary and Trojan planets. The planetary science possible with PLATO 2.0 is complemented by its impact on stellar and galactic science via asteroseismology as well as light curves of all kinds of variable stars, together with observations of stellar clusters of different ages. This will allow us to improve stellar models and study stellar activity. A large number of well-known ages from red giant stars will probe the structure and evolution of our Galaxy. Asteroseismic ages of bright stars for different phases of stellar evolution allow calibrating stellar age-rotation relationships. Together with the results of ESA’s Gaia mission, the results of PLATO 2.0 will provide a huge legacy to planetary, stellar and galactic science. [less ▲]

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See detailEstimating the p-mode frequencies of the solar twin 18 Scorpii
Bazot, M.; Campante, T.L.; Chaplin, W.J. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2012), 544

Solar twins have been a focus of attention for more than a decade, because their structure is extremely close to that of the Sun. Today, thanks to high-precision spectrometers, it is possible to use ... [more ▼]

Solar twins have been a focus of attention for more than a decade, because their structure is extremely close to that of the Sun. Today, thanks to high-precision spectrometers, it is possible to use asteroseismology to probe their interiors. Our goal is to use time series obtained from the HARPS spectrometer to extract the oscillation frequencies of 18 Sco, the brightest solar twin. We used the tools of spectral analysis to estimate these quantities. We estimate 52 frequencies using an MCMC algorithm. After examination of their probability densities and comparison with results from direct MAP optimization, we obtain a minimal set of 21 reliable modes. The identification of each pulsation mode is straightforwardly accomplished by comparing to the well-established solar pulsation modes. We also derived some basic seismic indicators using these values. These results offer a good basis to start a detailed seismic analysis of 18 Sco using stellar models. [less ▲]

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See detailLong-term magnetic field monitoring of the Sun-like star \xi Bootis A
Morgenthaler, A.; Petit, P.; Saar, S. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2012), 540

Aims: We aim to investigate the long-term temporal evolution of the magnetic field of the solar-type star ξ Bootis A, both from direct magnetic field measurements and from the simultaneous estimate of ... [more ▼]

Aims: We aim to investigate the long-term temporal evolution of the magnetic field of the solar-type star ξ Bootis A, both from direct magnetic field measurements and from the simultaneous estimate of indirect activity indicators. Methods: We obtained seven epochs of high-resolution, circularly-polarized spectra from the NARVAL spectropolarimeter between 2007 and 2011, for a total of 76 spectra. Using approximately 6100 photospheric spectral lines covering the visible domain, we employed a cross-correlation procedure to compute a mean polarized line profile from each spectrum. The large-scale photospheric magnetic field of the star was then modelled by means of Zeeman-Doppler Imaging, allowing us to follow the year-to-year evolution of the reconstructed magnetic topology. Simultaneously, we monitored the width of several magnetically sensitive spectral lines, the radial velocity, the line asymmetry of intensity line profiles, and the chromospheric emission in the cores of the Ca II H and Hα lines. Results: During the highest observed activity states, in 2007 and 2011, the large-scale field of ξ Bootis A is almost completely axisymmetric and is dominated by its toroidal component. The toroidal component persists with a constant polarity, containing a significant fraction of the magnetic energy of the large-scale surface field through all observing epochs. The magnetic topologies reconstructed for these activity maxima are very similar, suggesting a form of short cyclicity in the large-scale field distribution. The mean unsigned large-scale magnetic flux derived from the magnetic maps varies by a factor of about 2 between the lowest and highest observed magnetic states. The chromospheric flux is less affected and varies by a factor of 1.2. Correlated temporal evolution, due to both rotational modulation and seasonal variability, is observed between the Ca II emission, the Hα emission and the width of magnetically sensitive lines. The rotational dependence of polarimetric magnetic measurements displays a weak correlation with other activity proxies, presumably due to the different spatial scales and centre-to-limb darkening associated with polarimetric signatures, as compared to non-polarized activity indicators. Better agreement is observed on the longer term. When measurable, the differential rotation reveals a strong latitudinal shear in excess of 0.2 rad d-1. [less ▲]

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See detailHigh-resolution spectropolarimetric observations of hot subdwarfs
Petit, P.; Van Grootel, Valérie ULg; Bagnulo, S. et al

in Leaflet - Astronomical Society of the Pacific (2012, March 01), 452

We report on high-resolution spectropolarimetric observations of the hot subdwarf stars HD 76431 and Feige 66, using the ESPaDOnS echelle spectropolarimeter at CFHT. We compute cross-correlation Stokes I ... [more ▼]

We report on high-resolution spectropolarimetric observations of the hot subdwarf stars HD 76431 and Feige 66, using the ESPaDOnS echelle spectropolarimeter at CFHT. We compute cross-correlation Stokes I and V line profiles to enhance the signal-to-noise ratio. We then average all available cross-correlation profiles of each star to further decrease the noise level. Although both targets were previously reported to host kilo-gauss magnetic fields, we do not derive any evidence of large-scale photospheric fields from our sets of observations, in spite of tight error bars on the longitudinal field of the order of 60 gauss for HD 76431 and 200 gauss for Feige 66. A new analysis of FORS1 observations of HD 76431, which provided the basis for the original claim of field detection, confirms the absence of any detectable Zeeman signature, with an error bar of about 100 gauss on the longitudinal magnetic field. [less ▲]

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See detailLong-term magnetic field monitoring of the sun-like star ξ Bootis A
Morgenthaler, A.; Petit, P.; Aurière, M. et al

in Boissier, S.; Heydari-Malayeri, M.; Samadi, R. (Eds.) et al SF2A-2010: Proceedings of the Annual meeting of the French Society of Astronomy and Astrophysics (2010, December 01)

Phase-resolved observations of the solar-type star ξ Bootis A were obtained using the Narval spectropolarimeter at Telescope Bernard Lyot (Pic du Midi, France) during years 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. The ... [more ▼]

Phase-resolved observations of the solar-type star ξ Bootis A were obtained using the Narval spectropolarimeter at Telescope Bernard Lyot (Pic du Midi, France) during years 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. The data sets enable us to study both the rotational and the long-term evolution of various activity tracers. Here, we focus on the large-scale photospheric magnetic field (reconstructed by Zeeman-Doppler Imaging), the Zeeman broadening of the FeI 846.84 nm magnetic line, and the chromospheric CaII H and Hα emission. [less ▲]

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See detailExploring the magnetic topologies of cool stars
Morin, J.; Donati, J *-F; Petit, P. et al

in IAU Symposium Proceedings (2010, September 01)

Magnetic fields of cool stars can be directly investigated through the study of the Zeeman effect on photospheric spectral lines using several approaches. With spectroscopic measurement in unpolarised ... [more ▼]

Magnetic fields of cool stars can be directly investigated through the study of the Zeeman effect on photospheric spectral lines using several approaches. With spectroscopic measurement in unpolarised light, the total magnetic flux averaged over the stellar disc can be derived but very little information on the field geometry is available. Spectropolarimetry provides a complementary information on the large-scale component of the magnetic topology. With Zeeman-Doppler Imaging (ZDI), this information can be retrieved to produce a map of the vector magnetic field at the surface of the star, and in particular to assess the relative importance of the poloidal and toroidal components as well as the degree of axisymmetry of the field distribution. The development of high-performance spectropolarimeters associated with multi-lines techniques and ZDI allows us to explore magnetic topologies throughout the Hertzsprung-Russel diagram, on stars spanning a wide range of mass, age and rotation period. These observations bring novel constraints on magnetic field generation by dynamo effect in cool stars. In particular, the study of solar twins brings new insight on the impact of rotation on the solar dynamo, whereas the detection of strong and stable dipolar magnetic fields on fully convective stars questions the precise role of the tachocline in this process. [less ▲]

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