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Least-squares deconvolution of the stellar intensity and polarization spectra
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Observational Astronomy.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Observational Astronomy.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Observational Astronomy.
2010 (English)In: Astronomy and Astrophysics, ISSN 0004-6361, E-ISSN 1432-0746, Vol. 524, no 1, A5- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Context. Least-squares deconvolution (LSD) is a powerful method of extracting high-precision average line profiles from the stellar intensity and polarization spectra. This technique is widely used for detection, characterization, and detailed mapping of the temperature, magnetic, and chemical abundance structures on the surfaces of stars. Aims. Despite its common usage, the LSD method is poorly documented and has never been tested with realistic synthetic spectra. In this study we revisit the key assumptions of the LSD technique, clarify its numerical implementation, discuss possible improvements and give recommendations of how to make LSD results understandable and reproducible. We also address the problem of interpretation of the moments and shapes of the LSD profiles in terms of physical parameters. Methods. We have developed an improved, multiprofile version of LSD (iLSD) and have extended the deconvolution procedure to linear polarization analysis taking into account anomalous Zeeman splitting of spectral lines. The iLSD method is applied to the theoretical Stokes parameter spectra computed for a wide wavelength interval containing all relevant spectral lines. We test various methods of interpreting the mean profiles, investigating how coarse approximations of the multiline technique translate into errors of the derived parameters. Results. We find that, generally, the Stokes parameter LSD profiles do not behave as a real spectral line with respect to the variation of magnetic field and elemental abundance. This problem is especially prominent for the Stokes I (intensity) variation with abundance and Stokes Q (linear polarization) variation with magnetic field. At the same time, the Stokes V (circular polarization) LSD spectra closely resemble the profile of a properly chosen synthetic line for the magnetic field strength up to 1 kG. The longitudinal field estimated from the Stokes V LSD profile is accurate to within 10% for the field strength below 5 kG and to within a few percent for the fields weaker than 1 kG. Our iLSD technique offers clear advantages over the standard LSD method in the individual analysis of different chemical elements. Conclusions. We conclude that the usual method of interpreting the LSD profiles by assuming that they are equivalent to a real spectral line gives satisfactory results only in a limited parameter range and thus should be applied with caution. A more trustworthy approach is to abandon the single-line approximation of the average profiles and apply LSD consistently to observations and synthetic spectra.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 524, no 1, A5- p.
Keyword [en]
magnetic fields, line: formation, polarization, stars: atmospheres, methods: data analysis, methods: numerical
National Category
Physical Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-139481DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201015429ISI: 000284625300088OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-139481DiVA: diva2:381393
Available from: 2010-12-27 Created: 2010-12-27 Last updated: 2012-10-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Magnetic Fields and Chemical Spots in HgMn Stars
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Magnetic Fields and Chemical Spots in HgMn Stars
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Mercury-manganese (HgMn) stars belong to the class of chemically peculiar (CP) stars. It was recently discovered that some HgMn stars have spots of chemical elements on their surfaces. According to conventional picture of CP stars, magnetic field facilitates the formation and long term stability of chemical spots by controlling stratification of elements in stellar atmosphere. However, previous attempts to find magnetic field in HgMn stars set an upper limit on its strength at the level of about 20-100 Gauss. Observational evidence suggested that even weaker magnetic fields can be responsible for the formation of chemical spots. The main goal of our work was to verify this possibility.

The search for weak magnetic fields requires the use of least-squares deconvolution (LSD) technique.  This method combines information from many spectral lines providing a mean line profile with increased signal-to-noise ratio. Up to now there was no extensive comparison of the LSD profile with real spectral lines. We showed that the LSD profile of the intensity spectrum does not behave like a real spectral line as a function of chemical composition. However, for circular polarization, LSD profile resembles the profile of a spectral line with mean atomic parameters.

We performed a comprehensive search for magnetic field in 47 HgMn stars and their companions, based on high-quality spectropolarimetric data obtained with the HARPSpol polarimeter at the ESO 3.6-m telescope. With the help of LSD technique, an upper limit on the mean longitudinal magnetic field was brought down to 2-10 G for most stars. We concluded that magnetic field is not responsible for the spot formation in HgMn stars.

We obtained full rotational phase coverage for the HgMn stars φ Phe and 66 Eri. This enabled us to investigate line profile variability, reconstruct surface maps of chemical elements, and perform a search for magnetic field with very high sensitivity. For φ Phe we derived surface maps of Y, Sr, Ti, Cr, and obtained an upper limit of 4 G on the field strength. We also found marginal indication of vertical stratification of Y and Ti. No magnetic field was detected in both components of 66 Eri, with an upper limit of 10-24 G. We discovered chemical spots of Y, Sr, Ba, and Ti, in the primary star. We demonstrated a relation between the binary orbit and the morphology of these spots.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2011. 46 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 873
Chemically peculiar stars; magnetic fields; spectropolarimetry; Doppler imaging
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
Research subject
Astronomy with specialization in Astrophysics
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-160308 (URN)978-91-554-8199-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-12-08, Häggsalen, Ångström Laboratory, Lägerhyddsvägen 1, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2011-11-09 Created: 2011-10-20 Last updated: 2012-10-16

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