EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 426, Number 3, November II 2004
Page(s) 1007 - 1020
Section Stellar atmospheres
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20041047

A&A 426, 1007-1020 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20041047

The photospheric abundances of active binaries

III. Abundance peculiarities at high activity levels
T. Morel1, G. Micela1, F. Favata2 and D. Katz3

1  Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo G. S. Vaiana, Piazza del Parlamento 1, 90134 Palermo, Italy
    e-mail: morel@astropa.unipa.it
2  Astrophysics Division - Research and Science Support Department of ESA, ESTEC, Postbus 299, 2200 AG Noordwijk, The Netherlands
3  Observatoire de Paris, GEPI, Place Jules Janssen, 92195 Meudon, France

(Received 7 April 2004 / Accepted 11 June 2004)

We report the determination from high-resolution spectra of the atmospheric parameters and abundances of 13 chemical species (among which lithium) in 8 single-lined active binaries. These data are combined with our previous results for 6 other RS CVn systems to examine a possible relationship between the photospheric abundance patterns and the stellar activity level. The stars analyzed are generally found to exhibit peculiar abundance ratios compared to inactive, Galactic disk stars of similar metallicities. We argue that this behaviour is unlikely to be an artefact of errors in the determination of the atmospheric parameters or non-standard mixing processes along the red giant branch, but diagnoses instead the combined action of various physical processes related to activity. The most promising candidates are cool spot groups covering a very substantial fraction of the stellar photosphere or NLTE effects arising from nonthermal excitation. However, we cannot exclude the possibility that more general shortcomings in our understanding of K-type stars (e.g. inadequacies in the atmospheric models) also play a significant role. Lastly, we call attention to the unreliability of the ( V-R) and ( V-I) colour indices as temperature indicators in chromospherically active stars.

Key words: stars: fundamental parameters -- stars: abundances -- stars: activity -- line: formation

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© ESO 2004

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