Journal Article

Bolometric correction and spectral energy distribution of cool stars in Galactic clusters*

A. Buzzoni, L. Patelli, M. Bellazzini, F. Fusi Pecci and E. Oliva

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 403, issue 3, pages 1592-1610
Published in print April 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online April 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Bolometric correction and spectral energy distribution of cool stars in Galactic clusters*

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We have investigated the relevant trend of the bolometric correction (BC) at the cool-temperature regime of red giant stars and its possible dependence on stellar metallicity. Our analysis relies on a wide sample of optical–infrared spectroscopic observations, along the 3500 Å⇒ 2.5 μm wavelength range, for a grid of 92 red giant stars in five (three globular + two open) Galactic clusters, along the full metallicity range covered by the bulk of the stars, −2.2 ≤[Fe/H]≤+0.4.

Synthetic BVRCIC JHK photometry from the derived spectral energy distributions allowed us to obtain robust temperature (Teff) estimates for each star, within ±100 K or less. According to the appropriate temperature estimate, blackbody extrapolation of the observed spectral energy distribution allowed us to assess the unsampled flux beyond the wavelength limits of our survey. For the bulk of our red giants, this fraction amounted to 15 per cent of the total bolometric luminosity, a figure that raises up to 30 per cent for the coolest targets (Teff≲ 3500 K). Overall, we obtain stellar Mbol values with an internal accuracy of a few percentages. Even neglecting any correction for lost luminosity etc., we would be overestimating Mbol by ≲0.3 mag, in the worst cases. Making use of our new data base, we provide a set of fitting functions for the V and K BC versus Teff and versus (BV) and (VK) broad-band colours, valid over the interval 3300 ≤Teff≤ 5000 K, especially suited for red giants.

The analysis of the BCV and BCK estimates along the wide range of metallicity spanned by our stellar sample shows no evident drift with [Fe/H]. Things may be different for the B-band correction, where the blanketing effects are more and more severe. A drift of Δ(BV) versus [Fe/H] is in fact clearly evident from our data, with metal-poor stars displaying a ‘bluer’(BV) with respect to the metal-rich sample, for fixed Teff.

Our empirical bolometric corrections are in good overall agreement with most of the existing theoretical and observational determinations, supporting the conclusion that (a) BCK from the most recent studies are reliable within ≲±0.1 over the whole colour/temperature range considered in this paper, and (b) the same conclusion apply to BCV only for stars warmer than ≃3800 K. At cooler temperatures the agreement is less general, and MARCS models are the only ones providing a satisfactory match to observations, in particular in the BCV versus (BV) plane.

Keywords: stars: atmospheres; stars: late-type; globular clusters: general; Galaxy: stellar content; infrared: stars

Journal Article.  9780 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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