EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 408, Number 1, September II 2003
Page(s) 337 - 345
Section Stellar atmospheres
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20030913

A&A 408, 337-345 (2003)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20030913

A study of the Mg II 2796.34 Å emission line in late-type normal and RS CVn stars

D. Cardini1, A. Cassatella1, 2, M. Badiali1, A. Altamore2 and M.-J. Fernández-Figueroa3

1  Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica, CNR, via del Fosso del Cavaliere 100, 00133 Roma, Italy
2  Dipartimento di Fisica E. Amaldi, Università degli Studi Roma Tre, via della Vasca Navale 84, 00146 Roma, Italy
3  Departamento de Astrofísica, Facultad de Física, Universidad Complutense, 28040 Madrid, Spain

(Received 4 February 2003 / Accepted 10 June 2003)

We carry out an analysis of the $\ion{Mg}{ii}$ 2796.34 Å emission line in RS CVn stars and make a comparison with the normal stars studied in a previous paper (Paper I). The sample of RS CVn stars consists of 34 objects with known HIPPARCOS parallaxes and observed at high resolution with IUE. We confirm that RS CVn stars tend to possess wider $\ion{Mg}{ii}$ lines than normal stars having the same absolute visual magnitude. However, we could not find any correlation between the logarithmic line width ${\rm log}~W_{\circ}$ and the absolute visual magnitude $M_{\rm V}$ (the Wilson-Bappu relationship) for these active stars, contrary to the case of normal stars addressed in Paper I. On the contrary, we find that a strong correlation exists in the ( $M_{\rm V}$, ${\rm log}~L_{\ion{Mg}{ii}}$) plane ( $L_{\ion{Mg}{ii}}$ is the absolute flux in the line). In this plane, normal and RS CVn stars are distributed along two nearly parallel straight lines with RS CVn stars being systematically brighter by ${\approx}$1 dex. Such a diagram provides an interesting tool to discriminate active from normal stars. We finally analyse the distribution of RS CVn and of normal stars in the ( ${\rm log}~L_{\ion{Mg}{ii}}$, ${\rm log}~W_{\circ}$) plane, and find a strong linear correlation for normal stars, which can be used for distance determinations.

Key words: stars: distances -- stars: late-type -- stars: individual: RS CVn -- ultraviolet: stars -- line: profiles

Offprint request: A. Cassatella, cassatella@fis.uniroma3.it

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© ESO 2003