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Reliability Checks on the Indo-US Stellar Spectral Library Using Artificial Neural Networks and Principal Component Analysis
The Indo-US coudé feed stellar spectral library (CFLIB) madeavailable to the astronomical community recently by Valdes et al. (2004,ApJS, 152, 251) contains spectra of 1273 stars in the spectral region3460 to 9464Å at a high resolution of 1Å (FWHM) and a widerange of spectral types. Cross-checking the reliability of this databaseis an important and desirable exercise since a number of stars in thisdatabase have no known spectral types and a considerable fraction ofstars has not so complete coverage in the full wavelength region of3460-9464Å resulting in gaps ranging from a few Å to severaltens of Å. We use an automated classification scheme based onArtificial Neural Networks (ANN) to classify all 1273 stars in thedatabase. In addition, principal component analysis (PCA) is carried outto reduce the dimensionality of the data set before the spectra areclassified by the ANN. Most importantly, we have successfullydemonstrated employment of a variation of the PCA technique to restorethe missing data in a sample of 300 stars out of the CFLIB.

Asteroseismology of solar-type stars with CORALIE and HARPS . I: Observations and modelling of single stars
We present here the detection and characterization of solar-likeoscillations in several targets such as beta Vir, eta Boo, delta Eri,chi Eri and the Am star HD 209625 obtained with the CORALIE and HARPSspectrographs based at the ESO La Silla Observatory. The measurement ofthe frequencies of p-mode oscillations provides an insight into theinternal structure and is nowadays the most powerful constraint on thetheory of stellar evolution.

Sulphur abundances in disk stars as determined from the forbidden λ10821 [S I] line
Aims.In this paper we aim to study the chemical evolution of sulphur inthe galactic disk, using a new optimal abundance indicator: the [S i]line at 10821 Å. Similar to the optimal oxygen indicators, the [Oi] lines, the [S i] line has the virtues of being less sensitive to theassumed temperatures of the stars investigated and of likely being lessprone to non-LTE effects than other tracers.Methods.High-resolution, near-infrared spectra of the [S i] line arerecorded using the Phoenix spectrometer on the Gemini South telescope.The analysis is based on 1D, LTE model atmospheres using a homogeneousset of stellar parameters.Results.The λ10821 [S i] line issuitable for an abundance analysis of disk stars, and the sulphurabundances derived from it are consistent with abundances derived fromother tracers. We corroborate that, for disk stars, the trend ofsulphur-to-iron ratios with metallicity is similar to that found forother alpha elements, supporting the idea of a common nucleosyntheticorigin.

Precise radial velocities of giant stars. I. Stable stars
Context: .Future astrometric missions such as SIM PlanetQuest need verystable reference stars. K giants have large luminosities, which placethem at large distances and thus the jitter of their photocenters bycompanions is relatively small. Therefore K giants would be best suitedas references. To confirm this observationally a radial velocity surveyis performed to quantify the level of intrinsic variability in Kgiants. Aims: .From this radial velocity survey we present 34 Kgiants with an observed standard deviation of the radial velocity ofless than 20 m/s. These stars are considered "stable" and can be used asradial velocity standards. Methods: .The radial velocity surveycontains 179 K giants. All K giants have a declination between -30°and +65° and visual magnitude of 3{-}6 mag. The CoudéAuxiliary Telescope (CAT) at UCO/Lick Observatory is used to obtainradial velocities with an accuracy of 5{-}8 m/s. The number of epochsfor the 34 stable stars ranges from 11 to 28 with a total timespan ofthe observations between 1800 and a little over 2200 days. Results: .The observational results of the 34 "stable" stars are showntogether with a discussion about their position in the MV vs.B-V diagram and some conclusions concerning the radial velocityvariability of K giants. These results are in agreement with thetheoretical predictions. K giants in a certain range of theMV vs. B-V diagram are suitable reference stars.

A New Stellar Library in the K Band
Stellar population synthesis models are crucial for the understanding ofthe large amount of data which is being gathered for galaxies at low andhigh redshift, and provide the only way to compare the ``real world''with the theoretical framework. The best models require extensiveempirical stellar spectral libraries, which at present are starting tobe quite complete in the optical range. However the situation isdifferent in the near-infrared, which observational windows have been,until recently, poorly exploited. This is specially due to the lack ofappropriate instrumentation. We present the preliminary results of anongoing observational program aimed to overcome this problem and toprovide a stellar library in the K band with the required coverage ofphysical stellar parameters: effective temperature, gravity, metallicityand non-solar abundance ratios. In particular, the CO feature at 2.3μ m is a very promising spectroscopic line-strength index that willhelp to face outstanding problems in galaxy formation and evolution. Theavailability of this library will be essential to interpret the stellarcontent of composite stellar populations with EMIR. In addition, thislibrary will be also useful for other purposes, like the study of highlyreddened objects, and the spectral classification of late type stars.

Shapes of Spectral Line Bisectors for Cool Stars
The shape of the line bisector for the prototype spectral line Fe Iλ6253 was measured for an array of 54 stars on the cool half ofthe HR diagram. These bisectors are given in tables along with theirerrors. The classic C shape is shown by only a rather restricted rangein effective temperature and luminosity. The detailed change in bisectorshape with effective temperature and luminosity is documented moreprecisely than in previous work. The most blueward point on the bisectorchanges its height systematically with luminosity and can be used as aluminosity or gravity discriminant. The wide range of bisector shapescontains significant information about the velocity fields in theatmospheres of these stars, but extracting that information may requireextensive modeling.

Observations of Stellar Maser Sources with No IRAS Counterpart
We investigated stellar maser sources with no IRAS counterpart at theradio, middle-infrared, and near-infrared wavelengths. A 43GHz SiO masersearch for 120 2MASS/MSX objects, and 10 OH 1612MHz sources with no or avery faint MSX counterpart, resulted in 43 SiO detections: one OH1612MHz source, 2 near-infrared stars, and 40 MSX sources. Additionalnear-infrared J-, H-, and K-band observations of the OH 1612MHz sourcesdetected 5 near-infrared counterparts. Furthermore, middle-infraredimaging observations at 8.8, 9.7, 12.4, and 24.5μm with the Subaru8.2-m telescope found counterparts for 2 near-infrared stars with SiOmasers, and counterparts for 6 OH 1612MHz sources. However, 4 OH 1612MHzsources were not detected in the sensitive near- and middle-infraredsearches; three of these are relatively strong OH maser sources forwhich the positions were known accurately. We conclude that one of these(OH 028.286i‑01.801) must be a young object in a star-formingregion.

Excitation of Solar-like Oscillations: From PMS to MS Stellar Models
The amplitude of solar-like oscillations results from a balance betweenexcitation and damping. As in the sun, the excitation is attributed toturbulent motions that stochastically excite the p modes in theupper-most part of the convective zone. We present here a model for theexcitation mechanism. Comparisons between modeled amplitudes and helioand stellar seismic constraints are presented and the discrepanciesdiscussed. Finally the possibility and the interest of detecting suchstochastically excited modes in pre-main sequence stars are alsodiscussed.

Analysis of the Na, Mg, Al, and Si Abundances in the Atmospheres of Red Giants of Different Spectral Subgroups
We analyze the Na, Mg, Al, and Si abundances in the atmospheres of morethan 40 stars, includingred giants of different spectral subgroups(normal red giants, mild and classical barium stars) and severalsupergiants. All these elements exhibit abundance excesses, with theoverabundance increasing with the star’s luminosity. Thedependence of the overabundances for each of these elements on theluminosity (or log g) is the same for all the spectral subgroups,testifying to a common origin: they are all products of hydrogen burningin the NeNa and MgAl cycles that have been dredged up from the stellarinteriors to the outer atmospheric layers by convection that graduallydevelops during the star’s evolution from the main sequence to thered-giant stage. The sodium abundances derived for several stars arelower than for other stars with similar atmospheric parameters. The agesand kinematic characteristics of these two groups of stars suggest thatthey probably belong to different stellar generations.

Variability of Stars in the Pulkovo Spectrophotometric Catalog
We present the results of a statistical study of brightness variabilityfor 693 stars of the Pulkovo spectrophotometric database in fivespectral bands in the range λλ 320 1080 nm. Significantbrightness variations were detected in at least one spectral bandagainst the background of the random noise for one-third of the starsnot earlier believed to be variable. A comparison of the distributionsof these variations in amplitude and spectral band for the normal andvariable stars shows that variability is inherent to most stars to someextent and is often wavelength dependent.

Spectroscopic Properties of Cool Stars (SPOCS). I. 1040 F, G, and K Dwarfs from Keck, Lick, and AAT Planet Search Programs
We present a uniform catalog of stellar properties for 1040 nearby F, G,and K stars that have been observed by the Keck, Lick, and AAT planetsearch programs. Fitting observed echelle spectra with synthetic spectrayielded effective temperature, surface gravity, metallicity, projectedrotational velocity, and abundances of the elements Na, Si, Ti, Fe, andNi, for every star in the catalog. Combining V-band photometry andHipparcos parallaxes with a bolometric correction based on thespectroscopic results yielded stellar luminosity, radius, and mass.Interpolating Yonsei-Yale isochrones to the luminosity, effectivetemperature, metallicity, and α-element enhancement of each staryielded a theoretical mass, radius, gravity, and age range for moststars in the catalog. Automated tools provide uniform results and makeanalysis of such a large sample practical. Our analysis method differsfrom traditional abundance analyses in that we fit the observed spectrumdirectly, rather than trying to match equivalent widths, and wedetermine effective temperature and surface gravity from the spectrumitself, rather than adopting values based on measured photometry orparallax. As part of our analysis, we determined a new relationshipbetween macroturbulence and effective temperature on the main sequence.Detailed error analysis revealed small systematic offsets with respectto the Sun and spurious abundance trends as a function of effectivetemperature that would be inobvious in smaller samples. We attempted toremove these errors by applying empirical corrections, achieving aprecision per spectrum of 44 K in effective temperature, 0.03 dex inmetallicity, 0.06 dex in the logarithm of gravity, and 0.5 kms-1 in projected rotational velocity. Comparisons withprevious studies show only small discrepancies. Our spectroscopicallydetermined masses have a median fractional precision of 15%, but theyare systematically 10% higher than masses obtained by interpolatingisochrones. Our spectroscopic radii have a median fractional precisionof 3%. Our ages from isochrones have a precision that variesdramatically with location in the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. We planto extend the catalog by applying our automated analysis technique toother large stellar samples.

The Planet-Metallicity Correlation
We have recently carried out spectral synthesis modeling to determineTeff, logg, vsini, and [Fe/H] for 1040 FGK-type stars on theKeck, Lick, and Anglo-Australian Telescope planet search programs. Thisis the first time that a single, uniform spectroscopic analysis has beenmade for every star on a large Doppler planet search survey. We identifya subset of 850 stars that have Doppler observations sufficient todetect uniformly all planets with radial velocity semiamplitudes K>30m s-1 and orbital periods shorter than 4 yr. From this subsetof stars, we determine that fewer than 3% of stars with-0.5<[Fe/H]<0.0 have Doppler-detected planets. Above solarmetallicity, there is a smooth and rapid rise in the fraction of starswith planets. At [Fe/H]>+0.3 dex, 25% of observed stars have detectedgas giant planets. A power-law fit to these data relates the formationprobability for gas giant planets to the square of the number of metalatoms. High stellar metallicity also appears to be correlated with thepresence of multiple-planet systems and with the total detected planetmass. This data set was examined to better understand the origin of highmetallicity in stars with planets. None of the expected fossilsignatures of accretion are observed in stars with planets relative tothe general sample: (1) metallicity does not appear to increase as themass of the convective envelopes decreases, (2) subgiants with planetsdo not show dilution of metallicity, (3) no abundance variations for Na,Si, Ti, or Ni are found as a function of condensation temperature, and(4) no correlations between metallicity and orbital period oreccentricity could be identified. We conclude that stars with extrasolarplanets do not have an accretion signature that distinguishes them fromother stars; more likely, they are simply born in higher metallicitymolecular clouds.Based on observations obtained at Lick and Keck Observatories, operatedby the University of California, and the Anglo-Australian Observatories.

First results from the ESO VLTI calibrators program
The ESO Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) is one of the leadinginterferometric facilities. It is equipped with several 8.2 and 1.8 mtelescopes, a large number of baselines up to 200 m, and with severalsubsystems designed to enable high quality measurements and to improvesignificantly the limits of sensitivities currently available tolong-baseline interferometry. The full scientific potential of the VLTIcan be exploited only if a consistent set of good quality calibrators isavailable. For this, a large number of observations of potentialcalibrators have been obtained during the commissioning phase of theVLTI. These data are publicly available. We briefly describe theinterferometer, the VINCI instrument used for the observations, the dataflow from acquisition to processed results, and we present and commenton the volume of observations gathered and scrutinized. The result is alist of 191 calibrator candidates, for which a total of 12 066observations can be deemed of satisfactory quality. We present a generalstatistical analysis of this sample, using as a starting point theangular diameters previously available in the literature. We derive thegeneral characteristics of the VLTI transfer function, and its trendwith time in the period 2001 through mid-2004. A second paper will bedevoted to a detailed investigation of a selected sample, aimed atestablishing a VLTI-based homogeneous system of calibrators.

CHARM2: An updated Catalog of High Angular Resolution Measurements
We present an update of the Catalog of High Angular ResolutionMeasurements (CHARM, Richichi & Percheron \cite{CHARM}, A&A,386, 492), which includes results available until July 2004. CHARM2 is acompilation of direct measurements by high angular resolution methods,as well as indirect estimates of stellar diameters. Its main goal is toprovide a reference list of sources which can be used for calibrationand verification observations with long-baseline optical and near-IRinterferometers. Single and binary stars are included, as are complexobjects from circumstellar shells to extragalactic sources. The presentupdate provides an increase of almost a factor of two over the previousedition. Additionally, it includes several corrections and improvements,as well as a cross-check with the valuable public release observationsof the ESO Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI). A total of 8231entries for 3238 unique sources are now present in CHARM2. Thisrepresents an increase of a factor of 3.4 and 2.0, respectively, overthe contents of the previous version of CHARM.The catalog is only available in electronic form at the CDS viaanonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (130.79.128.5) or via http://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/431/773

Chromospheric Ca II Emission in Nearby F, G, K, and M Stars
We present chromospheric Ca II H and K activity measurements, rotationperiods, and ages for ~1200 F, G, K, and M type main-sequence stars from~18,000 archival spectra taken at Keck and Lick Observatories as a partof the California and Carnegie Planet Search Project. We have calibratedour chromospheric S-values against the Mount Wilson chromosphericactivity data. From these measurements we have calculated medianactivity levels and derived R'HK, stellar ages,and rotation periods from general parameterizations for 1228 stars,~1000 of which have no previously published S-values. We also presentprecise time series of activity measurements for these stars.Based on observations obtained at Lick Observatory, which is operated bythe University of California, and on observations obtained at the W. M.Keck Observatory, which is operated jointly by the University ofCalifornia and the California Institute of Technology. The KeckObservatory was made possible by the generous financial support of theW. M. Keck Foundation.

The Indo-US Library of Coudé Feed Stellar Spectra
We have obtained spectra for 1273 stars using the 0.9 m coudéfeed telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. This telescope feedsthe coudé spectrograph of the 2.1 m telescope. The spectra havebeen obtained with the no. 5 camera of the coudé spectrograph anda Loral 3K×1K CCD. Two gratings have been used to provide spectralcoverage from 3460 to 9464 Å, at a resolution of ~1 Å FWHMand at an original dispersion of 0.44 Å pixel-1. For885 stars we have complete spectra over the entire 3460 to 9464 Åwavelength region (neglecting small gaps of less than 50 Å), andpartial spectral coverage for the remaining stars. The 1273 stars havebeen selected to provide broad coverage of the atmospheric parametersTeff, logg, and [Fe/H], as well as spectral type. The goal ofthe project is to provide a comprehensive library of stellar spectra foruse in the automated classification of stellar and galaxy spectra and ingalaxy population synthesis. In this paper we discuss thecharacteristics of the spectral library, viz., details of theobservations, data reduction procedures, and selection of stars. We alsopresent a few illustrations of the quality and information available inthe spectra. The first version of the complete spectral library is nowpublicly available from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory(NOAO) via ftp and http.

Synthetic Lick Indices and Detection of α-enhanced Stars. II. F, G, and K Stars in the -1.0 < [Fe/H] < +0.50 Range
We present an analysis of 402 F, G, and K solar neighborhood stars, withaccurate estimates of [Fe/H] in the range -1.0 to +0.5 dex, aimed at thedetection of α-enhanced stars and at the investigation of theirkinematical properties. The analysis is based on the comparison of 571sets of spectral indices in the Lick/IDS system, coming from fourdifferent observational data sets, with synthetic indices computed withsolar-scaled abundances and with α-element enhancement. We useselected combinations of indices to single out α-enhanced starswithout requiring previous knowledge of their main atmosphericparameters. By applying this approach to the total data set, we obtain alist of 60 bona fide α-enhanced stars and of 146 stars withsolar-scaled abundances. The properties of the detected α-enhancedand solar-scaled abundance stars with respect to their [Fe/H] values andkinematics are presented. A clear kinematic distinction betweensolar-scaled and α-enhanced stars was found, although a one-to-onecorrespondence to ``thin disk'' and ``thick disk'' components cannot besupported with the present data.

Nearby stars of the Galactic disk and halo. III.
High-resolution spectroscopic observations of about 150 nearby stars orstar systems are presented and discussed. The study of these and another100 objects of the previous papers of this series implies that theGalaxy became reality 13 or 14 Gyr ago with the implementation of amassive, rotationally-supported population of thick-disk stars. The veryhigh star formation rate in that phase gave rise to a rapid metalenrichment and an expulsion of gas in supernovae-driven Galactic winds,but was followed by a star formation gap for no less than three billionyears at the Sun's galactocentric distance. In a second phase, then, thethin disk - our ``familiar Milky Way'' - came on stage. Nowadays ittraces the bright side of the Galaxy, but it is also embedded in a hugecoffin of dead thick-disk stars that account for a large amount ofbaryonic dark matter. As opposed to this, cold-dark-matter-dominatedcosmologies that suggest a more gradual hierarchical buildup throughmergers of minor structures, though popular, are a poor description forthe Milky Way Galaxy - and by inference many other spirals as well - if,as the sample implies, the fossil records of its long-lived stars do notstick to this paradigm. Apart from this general picture that emergeswith reference to the entire sample stars, a good deal of the presentwork is however also concerned with detailed discussions of manyindividual objects. Among the most interesting we mention the bluestraggler or merger candidates HD 165401 and HD 137763/HD 137778, thelikely accretion of a giant planet or brown dwarf on 59 Vir in itsrecent history, and HD 63433 that proves to be a young solar analog at\tau˜200 Myr. Likewise, the secondary to HR 4867, formerly suspectednon-single from the Hipparcos astrometry, is directly detectable in thehigh-resolution spectroscopic tracings, whereas the visual binary \chiCet is instead at least triple, and presumably even quadruple. Withrespect to the nearby young stars a complete account of the Ursa MajorAssociation is presented, and we provide as well plain evidence foranother, the ``Hercules-Lyra Association'', the likely existence ofwhich was only realized in recent years. On account of its rotation,chemistry, and age we do confirm that the Sun is very typical among itsG-type neighbors; as to its kinematics, it appears however not unlikelythat the Sun's known low peculiar space velocity could indeed be thecause for the weak paleontological record of mass extinctions and majorimpact events on our parent planet during the most recent Galactic planepassage of the solar system. Although the significance of thiscorrelation certainly remains a matter of debate for years to come, wepoint in this context to the principal importance of the thick disk fora complete census with respect to the local surface and volumedensities. Other important effects that can be ascribed to this darkstellar population comprise (i) the observed plateau in the shape of theluminosity function of the local FGK stars, (ii) a small thoughsystematic effect on the basic solar motion, (iii) a reassessment of theterm ``asymmetrical drift velocity'' for the remainder (i.e. the thindisk) of the stellar objects, (iv) its ability to account for the bulkof the recently discovered high-velocity blue white dwarfs, (v) itsmajor contribution to the Sun's ˜220 km s-1 rotationalvelocity around the Galactic center, and (vi) the significant flatteningthat it imposes on the Milky Way's rotation curve. Finally we note ahigh multiplicity fraction in the small but volume-complete local sampleof stars of this ancient population. This in turn is highly suggestivefor a star formation scenario wherein the few existing single stellarobjects might only arise from either late mergers or the dynamicalejection of former triple or higher level star systems.

Empirically Constrained Color-Temperature Relations. II. uvby
A new grid of theoretical color indices for the Strömgren uvbyphotometric system has been derived from MARCS model atmospheres and SSGsynthetic spectra for cool dwarf and giant stars having-3.0<=[Fe/H]<=+0.5 and 3000<=Teff<=8000 K. Atwarmer temperatures (i.e., 8000-2.0. To overcome thisproblem, the theoretical indices at intermediate and high metallicitieshave been corrected using a set of color calibrations based on fieldstars having well-determined distances from Hipparcos, accurateTeff estimates from the infrared flux method, andspectroscopic [Fe/H] values. In contrast with Paper I, star clustersplayed only a minor role in this analysis in that they provided asupplementary constraint on the color corrections for cool dwarf starswith Teff<=5500 K. They were mainly used to test thecolor-Teff relations and, encouragingly, isochrones thatemploy the transformations derived in this study are able to reproducethe observed CMDs (involving u-v, v-b, and b-y colors) for a number ofopen and globular clusters (including M67, the Hyades, and 47 Tuc)rather well. Moreover, our interpretations of such data are verysimilar, if not identical, with those given in Paper I from aconsideration of BV(RI)C observations for the sameclusters-which provides a compelling argument in support of thecolor-Teff relations that are reported in both studies. Inthe present investigation, we have also analyzed the observedStrömgren photometry for the classic Population II subdwarfs,compared our ``final'' (b-y)-Teff relationship with thosederived empirically in a number of recent studies and examined in somedetail the dependence of the m1 index on [Fe/H].Based, in part, on observations made with the Nordic Optical Telescope,operated jointly on the island of La Palma by Denmark, Finland, Iceland,Norway, and Sweden, in the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de losMuchachos of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias.Based, in part, on observations obtained with the Danish 1.54 mtelescope at the European Southern Observatory, La Silla, Chile.

Subgiants as probes of galactic chemical evolution
Chemical abundances for 23 candidate subgiant stars have been derivedwith the aim at exploring their usefulness for studies of galacticchemical evolution. High-resolution spectra from ESO CAT-CES andNOT-SOFIN covered 16 different spectral regions in the visible part ofthe spectrum. Some 200 different atomic and molecular spectral lineshave been used for abundance analysis of ˜30 elemental species. Thewings of strong, pressure-broadened metal lines were used fordetermination of stellar surface gravities, which have been comparedwith gravities derived from HIPPARCOS parallaxes and isochronic masses.Stellar space velocities have been derived from HIPPARCOS and Simbaddata, and ages and masses were derived with recent isochrones. Only 12of the stars turned out to be subgiants, i.e. on the ``horizontal'' partof the evolutionary track between the dwarf- and the giant stages. Theabundances derived for the subgiants correspond closely to those ofdwarf stars. With the possible exceptions of lithium and carbon we findthat subgiant stars show no ``chemical'' traces of post-main-sequenceevolution and that they are therefore very useful targets for studies ofgalactic chemical evolution.Based on observations made at ESO, La Silla.Based on observations made at NOT, La Palma.Tables 1 and 2 are only available in electronic form athttp://www.edpsciences.org

First observations with an H-band integrated optics beam combiner at the VLTI
This paper reports results obtained with the Very Large TelescopeInterferometer Commissioning Instrument (VLTI-VINCI) where the fiberinterferometric coupler MONA was temporarily replaced by an integratedoptics beam combiner (IONIC). The two-beam combiner operating in the Hatmospheric band was tested at Paranal during two weeks in July 2002.Fringes were recorded on several stars with the siderostats and the UnitTelescopes (UT). We demonstrate that integrated optics allows beamcombination with a high interferometric efficiency, stability andspatial filtering. The instrumental visibility of VLTI+IONIC is betterthan 85%, which is just 5% under the visibility of the IONIC devicealone. During this run, the flux injection in the IONIC combiner was notoptimized since we used the K-band MONA optics. However, we obtainfringes with the 35 cm siderostats on a star of magnitude mH=2.47(κ2 Scl). It allows us to extrapolate a magnitudearound mH˜6 with 8 m telescopes without adaptive optics and in thesame poor injection conditions.Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory,Paranal, Chile (public commissioning data).

Properties of galactic B[e] supergiants. III. MWC 300
We present the results of optical and near-IR spectroscopic and mid-IRimaging observations of the emission-line star MWC 300. Its propertiesand evolutionary state are still under debate (a B[e] supergiant or aHerbig Be star). For the first time we detected radial velocityvariations of the photospheric lines and found a correlation betweenthem and those of the He I λ5876 Åline. Most of the pureemission lines had stable positions for nearly 20 years. New estimatesof the object's luminosity (log L/Lȯ=5.1±0.1),distance (D=1.8±0.2 kpc), and systemic velocity (+26±2 kms-1) were derived. We found that both the circumstellarextinction in the disk-like dusty envelope and the interstellarextinction play a significant role in the attenuation of the stellarbrightness. Our 2D modeling of the observed spectral energy distributionin the wavelength range from 0.3 μm to 1.3 mm suggests that the staris viewed through a gaseous-and-dusty flared disk with an opening angleof 30 °, an inclination angle of 10 °, an equatorial opticaldepth τV=3.0, and a total mass of 0.08Mȯ. We argue that MWC 300 is most likely a binarysystem, because of the similarities of its observed parameters withthose of recognized B[e] binaries.Partially based on observations collected at the Canada-France-Hawaiitelescope (CFHT), operated by the National Research Council of Canada,the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, and Univeristy ofHawaii.

J - K DENIS photometry of a VLTI-selected sample of bright southern stars
We present a photometric survey of bright southern stars carried outusing the DENIS instrument equipped with attenuating filters. Theobservations were carried out not using the survey mode of DENIS, butwith individual target pointings. This project was stimulated by theneed to obtain near-infrared photometry of stars to be used in earlycommissioning observations of the ESO Very Large TelescopeInterferometer, and in particular to establish a network of brightcalibrator sources.We stress that near-infrared photometry is peculiarly lacking for manybright stars. These stars are saturated in 2MASS as well as in regularDENIS observations. The only other observations available for brightinfrared stars are those of the Two Micron Sky Survey dating from overthirty years ago. These were restricted to declinations above≈-30°, and thus cover only about half of the sky accessible fromthe VLTI site.We note that the final 2MASS data release includes photometry of brightstars, obtained by means of point-spread function fitting. However, thismethod only achieves about 30% accuracy, which is not sufficient formost applications.In this work, we present photometry for over 600 stars, each with atleast one and up to eight measurements, in the J and K filters. Typicalaccuracy is at the level of 0\fm05 and 0\fm04 in the J and K_s bands,respectively.Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory, LaSilla.Tables 1 and 2 are only available in electronic form at the CDS viaanonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (130.79.128.5) or viahttp://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/413/1037

Atmospheric Models of Red Giants with Massive-Scale Non-Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium
We present plane-parallel and spherical LTE and non-LTE (NLTE)atmospheric models of a variety of stellar parameters of the red giantstar Arcturus (α Boo, HD 124897, HR 5340) and study their abilityto fit the measured absolute flux distribution. Our NLTE models includetens of thousands of the strongest lines in NLTE, and we investigateseparately the effects of treating the light metals and the Fe groupelements Fe and Ti in NLTE. We find that the NLTE effects of Fe groupelements on the model structure and Fλ distributionare much more important than the NLTE effects of all the light metalscombined, and serve to substantially increase the violet and near-UVFλ levels as a result of NLTE Fe overionization. Boththe LTE and NLTE models predict significantly more flux in the blue andUV bands than is observed. We find that within the moderately metal-poormetallicity range, the effect of NLTE on the overall UV flux leveldecreases with decreasing metallicity. These results suggest that theremay still be important UV opacity missing from the models. We find thatmodels of solar metallicity giants of spectral type similar to that ofArcturus fit well the observed flux distributions of those stars fromthe red to the near-UV band. This suggests that the blue and near-UVflux discrepancy is metallicity dependent, increasing with decreasingmetallicity.

Onset of Mass Loss in Red Giants: Association with an Evolutionary Event
Stencel & Mullan used asymmetries in the Mg II k emission lineprofile to determine the location of a ``velocity dividing line'' (VDL)in the H-R diagram. Stars to the right of (and above) the VDL wereobserved to have asymmetries that are consistent with the presence ofcool massive winds. Stars to the left of (and below) the VDL showed noevidence for winds. We show that the VDL lies close to a certain eventof stellar evolution on the red giant branch (RGB). The event occurswhen the hydrogen-burning shell evolves outward through a discontinuityin molecular weight. In some low-mass stars, this event causes a kink inthe evolutionary track of an individual low-mass star. In a cluster, thecombined effects of such kinks create a ``bump'' in the luminosityfunction. Our result suggests that evolution through the kink (or bump)on the RGB is associated with the onset of a cool massive wind.Theoretical possibilities to explain this association will be exploredin a subsequent paper.

Improved Astrometry and Photometry for the Luyten Catalog. II. Faint Stars and the Revised Catalog
We complete construction of a catalog containing improved astrometry andnew optical/infrared photometry for the vast majority of NLTT starslying in the overlap of regions covered by POSS I and by the secondincremental Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) release, approximately 44%of the sky. The epoch 2000 positions are typically accurate to 130 mas,the proper motions to 5.5 mas yr-1, and the V-J colors to0.25 mag. Relative proper motions of binary components are measured to 3mas yr-1. The false-identification rate is ~1% for11<~V<~18 and substantially less at brighter magnitudes. Theseimprovements permit the construction of a reduced proper-motion diagramthat, for the first time, allows one to classify NLTT stars intomain-sequence (MS) stars, subdwarfs (SDs), and white dwarfs (WDs). We inturn use this diagram to analyze the properties of both our catalog andthe NLTT catalog on which it is based. In sharp contrast to popularbelief, we find that NLTT incompleteness in the plane is almostcompletely concentrated in MS stars, and that SDs and WDs are detectedalmost uniformly over the sky δ>-33deg. Our catalogwill therefore provide a powerful tool to probe these populationsstatistically, as well as to reliably identify individual SDs and WDs.

Contributions to the Nearby Stars (NStars) Project: Spectroscopy of Stars Earlier than M0 within 40 Parsecs: The Northern Sample. I.
We have embarked on a project, under the aegis of the Nearby Stars(NStars)/Space Interferometry Mission Preparatory Science Program, toobtain spectra, spectral types, and, where feasible, basic physicalparameters for the 3600 dwarf and giant stars earlier than M0 within 40pc of the Sun. In this paper, we report on the results of this projectfor the first 664 stars in the northern hemisphere. These resultsinclude precise, homogeneous spectral types, basic physical parameters(including the effective temperature, surface gravity, and overallmetallicity [M/H]), and measures of the chromospheric activity of ourprogram stars. Observed and derived data presented in this paper arealso available on the project's Web site.

A grid of synthetic spectra and indices Fe5270, Fe5335, Mgb and Mg2 as a function of stellar parameters and [alpha/Fe]
We have computed a grid of synthetic spectra in the wavelength rangelambda lambda 4600-5600 Å using revised model atmospheres, for arange of atmospheric parameters and values of [alpha -elements/Fe] = 0.0and +0.4. The Lick indices Fe5270, Fe5335, Mgb and Mg2 aremeasured on the grid spectra for FWHM = 2 to 8.3 Å. Relationsbetween the indices Fe5270, Fe5335 and Mg2 and the stellarparameters effective temperature Teff, log ; g, [Fe/H] and[alpha /Fe], valid in the range 4000 <= Teff <= 7000 K,are presented. These fitting functions are given for FWHM = 3.5 and 8.3Å. The indices were also measured for a list of 97 reference starswith well-known stellar parameters observed at ESO and OHP, and theseare compared to the computed indices. Finally, a comparison of theindices measured on the observed spectra and those derived from thefitting functions based on synthetic spectra is presented.Observations collected at the European Southern Observatory (ESO), LaSilla, Chile and at the Observatoire de Haute Provence (OHP), St-Michel,France.All Tables of Appendices A and B are only available in electronic format the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (130.79.128.5) orvia http://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?/A+A/404/661

The Wilson-Bappu effect: A tool to determine stellar distances
Wilson & Bappu (\cite{orig}) have shown the existence of aremarkable correlation between the width of the emission in the core ofthe K line of Ca II and the absolute visual magnitude of late-typestars.Here we present a new calibration of the Wilson-Bappu effect based on asample of 119 nearby stars. We use, for the first time, widthmeasurements based on high resolution and high signal to noise ratio CCDspectra and absolute visual magnitudes from the Hipparcos database.Our primary goal is to investigate the possibility of using theWilson-Bappu effect to determine accurate distances to single stars andgroups.The result of our calibration fitting of the Wilson-Bappu relationshipis MV=33.2-18.0 log W0, and the determinationseems free of systematic effects. The root mean square error of thefitting is 0.6 mag. This error is mostly accounted for by measurementerrors and intrinsic variability of W0, but in addition apossible dependence on the metallicity is found, which becomes clearlynoticeable for metallicities below [Fe/H] ~ -0.4. This detection ispossible because in our sample [Fe/H] ranges from -1.5 to 0.4.The Wilson-Bappu effect can be used confidently for all metallicitiesnot lower than ~ -0.4, including the LMC. While it does not provideaccurate distances to single stars, it is a useful tool to determineaccurate distances to clusters and aggregates, where a sufficient numberof stars can be observed.We apply the Wilson-Bappu effect to published data of the open cluster M67; the retrieved distance modulus is of 9.65 mag, in very goodagreement with the best distance estimations for this cluster, based onmain sequence fitting.Observations collected at ESO, La Silla.

Dating the Almagest star catalogue using proper motions : a reconsideration.
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Observation and Astrometry data

Constellation:Serpens
Right ascension:18h21m18.60s
Declination:-02°53'56.0"
Apparent magnitude:3.26
Distance:18.936 parsecs
Proper motion RA:-547.8
Proper motion Dec:-700.8
B-T magnitude:4.428
V-T magnitude:3.337

Catalogs and designations:
Proper NamesTang
  (Edit)
Bayerη Ser
Flamsteed58 Ser
HD 1989HD 168723
TYCHO-2 2000TYC 5102-416-1
USNO-A2.0USNO-A2 0825-12162081
BSC 1991HR 6869
HIPHIP 89962

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