EDP Sciences
Free Access
Issue
A&A
Volume 556, August 2013
Article Number A15
Number of page(s) 14
Section Stellar atmospheres
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201321346
Published online 17 July 2013

© ESO, 2013

1. Introduction

Low-mass stars of less than 1 M are the dominant stellar component of the Milky Way. They constitute 70% of all stars (Reid & Gizis 1997; Bochanski et al. 2010) and 40% of the total stellar mass of the Galaxy (Chabrier 2003, 2005). Our understanding of the Galaxy therefore relies upon the description of this faint component. Indeed, M dwarfs have been employed in several Galactic studies as they carry the fundamental information on the stellar physics as well as on the galactic structure, formation, and dynamics. Moreover, M dwarfs are now known to host exoplanets, including super-Earth exoplanets (Bonfils et al. 2007, 2012; Udry et al. 2007). The determination of accurate fundamental parameters for M dwarfs has therefore relevant implications for both stellar and Galactic astronomy. Because of their intrinsic faintness and difficulties in getting homogeneous samples with respect to age and metallicity, their physics is not yet well understood.

Historically, their atmosphere has been complex to model, with the need for computed and ab initio molecular line lists that are accurate and complete with high temperatures. But for over ten years, water vapor (Partridge & Schwenke 1997; Barber et al. 2006) and titanium oxide (Plez 1998) line lists, the two most important opacities in strength and spectral coverage, have become available and meet these conditions. Indeed, the PHOENIX model atmosphere synthetic spectral energy distribution (SED) has improved greatly from earlier studies Allard & Hauschildt 1995; Hauschildt et al. 1999) to the more recent models by Allard et al. (2001, 2011, 2012a) and by Witte et al. (2011) using the most recent water vapor opacities.

The Teff scale of M dwarfs remains to this day model dependent to some level. Many efforts have been made to derive the effective temperature scale of M dwarfs. Due to the lack of very reliable model atmosphere, indirect methods such as blackbody fitting techniques have historically been used to estimate the effective temperature. The Bessell (1991)Teff scale was based on blackbody fits to the near-infrared (NIR) JHKL bands by Pettersen (1980) and Reid & Gilmore (1984). The much cooler blackbody fits shown by Wing & Rinsland (1979) and Veeder (1974) were fitted to the optical. Their fitting line was a continuation of the empirical Teff relation for the hotter stars through the Pettersen (1980) and Reid & Gilmore (1984) NIR fits for the cooler stars. The work by Veeder (1974), Berriman & Reid (1987), Berriman et al. (1992), and Tinney et al. (1993) also used the blackbody fitting technique to estimate the Teff. Tsuji et al. (1996a) provide good Teff using infrared flux method (IRFM). Casagrande et al. (2008) provide a modified IRFM Teff for dwarfs including M dwarfs. These methods tend to underestimate Teff since the blackbody carries little flux compared to the M dwarfs in the Rayleigh Jeans tail redwards of 2.5  μm. Temperatures derived from fitting to model spectra (Kirkpatrick et al. 1993) are systematically ~300 K warmer than those attained by empirical methods. This cooler Teff scale for M dwarfs was corrected recently by Casagrande & Schönrich (2012) bring it close to the Bessell (1991, 1995)Teff scale.

Tinney & Reid (1998) determined an M dwarf Teff scale in the optical by ranking the objects in order of titanium oxide (TiO), vanadium oxide (VO), CrH, and FeH equivalent widths. Delfosse et al. (1999) pursued a similar program in the NIR with H2O indices. Tokunaga & Kobayashi (1999) used a spectral color index based on moderate dispersion spectroscopy in the K band. Leggett et al. (1996) used observed NIR low-resolution spectra and photometry for comparison with the AMES-Dusty models (Allard et al. 2001). They found radii and effective temperatures that are consistent with the estimates based on photometric data from interior model or isochrone results. Leggett et al. (1998, 2000) revised their results by comparing the SED and NIR colors of M dwarfs to the same models. Their study provided for the first time a realistic temperature scale of M dwarfs.

In this paper, we present a new version of the BT-Settl models using the TiO line list by Plez (1998) and Plez, priv. comm., which is an important update since TiO accounts for the most important features in the optical spectrum. Compared to the version presented in Allard et al. (2012a) that was using Asplund et al. (2009) solar abundances, this new BT-Settl model also employs the latest solar elemental abundances by Caffau et al. (2011). We compare the revised BT-Settl synthetic spectra with the observed spectra of 152 M dwarfs using spectral synthesis and χ2 minimization techniques, as well as color–color diagrams to obtain the atmospheric parameters (effective temperature, surface gravity and metallicity). We determine the revised effective temperature scale along the entire M dwarfs’ spectral sequence and compare these results to those obtained by many authors. Observations and spectral classification are presented in Sect. 2. Details of the model atmospheres are described in Sect. 3, and the Teff determination is explained in Sect. 4. The comparison between observations and models is done in Sect. 5, where spectral features and photometry are compared. The effective temperature scale of M dwarfs is presented in this section. Conclusions are given in Sect. 6.

2. Observations

We carried out spectroscopic observations on the 3.6 mm New Technology Telescope (NTT) at La Silla Observatory (ESO, Chile) in November 2003. Optical low-resolution spectra were obtained in the red imaging and low-dispersion spectroscopy (RILD) observing mode with the ESO Multi Mode Instrument (EMMI) instrument. The spectral dispersion of the grism we used is 0.28 nm/pix, with a wavelength range of 385–950 nm. We used an order-blocking filter to avoid the second-order overlap that occurs beyond 800 nm. Thus the effective wavelength coverage ranges from 520 to 950 nm. The slit was 1 arcsec wide and the resulting resolution was 1 nm. The seeing varied from 0.5 to 1.5 arcsec. Exposure time ranged from 15 s for the brightest to 120 s for the faintest dwarf (I = 15.3). The reduction of the spectra was done using the context long of MIDAS. Fluxes were calibrated with the spectrophotometric standards LTT 2415 and Feige 110.

We obtained spectra for 97 M dwarfs along the entire spectral sequence. They are presented in Reylé et al. (2006), Phan-Bao et al. (2005), Crifo et al. (2005), and Martín et al. (2010). The list of stars, their spectral types, and their optical and NIR photometry are given in Table 1. The photometry has been compiled using the Vizier catalog access through the Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg. It comes from the Naval Observatory Merged Astrometric Dataset (NOMAD) catalog (Zacharias et al. 2005), the Deep Near-Infrared Survey (DENIS, Epchtein 1997), and the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS, Skrutskie et al. 2006), Reid et al. (2004, 2007), Koen & Eyer (2002); Koen et al. (2010).

The observations of 55 additional M dwarfs at Siding Spring Observatory (SSO) were carried out using the Double Beam Spectrograph (DBS), which uses a dichroic beamsplitter to separate the blue (300–630 nm) and red (620–1000 nm) light. The blue camera with a 300 l/mm grating provided a 2-pixel resolution of 0.4 nm, and the red camera with a 316 l/mm grating provided a 2-pixel resolution of 0.37 nm. The detectors were E2V 2048   ×    512   13.5 micron/pixel CCDs. The observations were taken on Mar. 27 2008. The spectrophotometric standards used were HD 44007, HD 45282, HD 55496, HD 184266, and HD 187111 from the Next Generation Spectral Library (NGSL, version 1)1 L745-46a and EG131 from http://www.mso.anu.edu.au/~bessell/FTP/Spectrophotometry/. The list of stars with their photometry are given in Table 2.

thumbnail Fig. 1

Teff vs. NIR colors (left panel) and color-color plot (right panel) for observed M dwarfs (open and filled circle) compared to the values obtained with the 5 Gyr isochrones from Baraffe et al. (1998) at various metallicities.

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Spectral types for the NTT sample are obtained by visual comparison with a spectral template of comparison stars, observed together with the target stars at NTT as explained in Reylé et al. (2006). For comparison, we also derive spectral types using the classification scheme based on the TiO and CaH bandstrength (Reid & Gizis 1997). However, no comparison stars have been observed with the DBS at SSO. Thus, spectral types for the SSO sample are computed from TiO and CaH bandstrength. Although the instrument is different, we allow the comparison stars observed with EMMI on the NTT to be used as a final check. The results agree within 0.5 subclass.

3. Model atmospheres

For this paper, we use the most recent BT-Settl models, which are partially published in a review by Allard et al. (2012a) and described by Allard et al. (2012b). These model atmospheres are computed with the PHOENIX multi-purpose atmosphere code version 15.5 (Hauschildt et al. 1997; Allard et al. 2001) solving the radiative transfer in 1D spherical symmetry. The assumptions made are classical: hydrostatic equilibrium, convection using the mixing length theory, chemical equilibrium, and a sampling treatment of the opacities. The models use a mixing length as derived by the radiation hydrodynamic (RHD) simulations of Ludwig et al. (2002, 2006) and Freytag et al. (2012) and radius determined by the Baraffe et al. (1998) interior models as a function of the atmospheric parameters (Teff, log g, [M/H]). The BT-Settl grid extends from Teff = 300 − 7000 K, log g = 2.5 − 5.5, and [M/H] =  − 2.5 − 0.0 which accounts for alpha-element enrichment. The reference solar elemental abundances used in this version of the BT-Settl models are those defined by Caffau et al. (2011). The synthetic colors and spectra are distributed with a spectral resolution of around R = 100   000 via the PHOENIX web simulator2.

Hot-temperature grains have been shown to form in the uppermost layers of M dwarfs with effective temperatures below 3000 K, but clear effects observable at the spectral resolution considered in this paper are only apparent below 2600 K, that is, for later spectral types than those considered in this paper. These grains produce a “veiling” by dust scattering over the optical band of the latest type M dwarfs. The BT-Settl models use therefore a slightly revised version of the Rossow (1978) cloud model (see Allard et al. 2012a,b; Rajpurohit et al. 2012b), for details on the model construction.

Compared to previous models by Allard et al. (2001), the current version of the BT-Settl model atmosphere is using the BT2 water vapor line list computed by Barber et al. (2006), TiO, VO, CaH line lists by Plez (1998), MgH by Skory et al. (2003), and Weck et al. (2003), FeH and CrH by Chowdhury et al. (2006) and Dulick et al. (2003), NH3 by Yurchenko et al. (2011), CO2 by Tashkun et al. (2004), and H2 Collision Induced Absorption (CIA) by Borysow et al. (2001) and Abel et al. (2011), to mention the most important. We use the CO line list by Goorvitch & Chackerian (1994a,b). Detailed profiles for the alkali lines are also used (Allard et al. 2007).

In general, the Unsold (1968) approximation is used for the atomic damping constants with a correction factor to the widths of 2.5 for the non-hydrogenic atoms (Valenti & Piskunov 1996). More accurate broadening data for neutral hydrogen collisions by Barklem et al. (2000) have been included for several important atomic transitions, such as the alkali, Ca I and Ca II resonance lines. For molecular lines, we adopted average values (e.g., 3)⟩ H2O = 0.08      Pgas    [cm-1   atm-1] for water vapor lines) from the HITRAN database (Rothman et al. 2009), which are scaled to the local gas pressure and temperature: (1)with a single temperature exponent of 0.5 to be compared to values ranging mainly from 0.3 to 0.6 for water transitions studied by Gamache et al. (1996). The HITRAN database gives widths for broadening in air, but Bailey & Kedziora-Chudczer (2012) find that these agree in general within 10–20% with those for broadening by a solar composition hydrogen-helium mixture.

4. Teff determination

We use a least-square minimization program employing the new BT-Settl model atmospheres to derive a revised effective temperature scale of M dwarfs. The stars in our samples most probably belong to the thin disc of our Galaxy (Reylé et al. 2002; Reylé & Robin 2004). Thus we determine the Teff of our targets by assuming solar metallicity. This is a reasonable assumption, as can be seen in Fig. 1 where we compare our two samples to three 5 Gyr isochrones with solar, [M/H] = –0.5 and –1.0 dex. The samples are clearly compatible with solar metallicity.

thumbnail Fig. 2

Optical to red SED of M dwarfs from M0 to M9.5 observed with the NTT at a spectral resolution of 10.4 Å compared to the best fit BT-Settl synthetic spectra (red lines). The models displayed have a surface gravity of log g = 5.0 to 5.5. Telluric features near 7600 Å were ignored from the chi-square minimization.

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thumbnail Fig. 3

Optical to red SED of M dwarfs from M1 to M8 observed with the SSO 2.3 m at a spectral resolution of 1.4 Å compared to the best fitting (chi-square minimization) BT-Settl synthetic spectra (red lines). The models displayed have a surface gravity of log g = 5.0 to 5.5. At blue wavelengths (<5000 Å) the instrumental noise dominates the late-type M dwarfs.

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Both theory and observation indicate that M dwarfs have log g   =   5.0 ± 0.2 (Gizis 1996; Casagrande et al. 2008) except for the latest type M dwarfs. We therefore restrict our analysis to log g   =   5.0 − 5.5 models. Each synthetic spectrum was convolved to the observed spectral resolution; a scaling factor is applied to normalize the average flux to unity. We then compare each of the observed spectra with all the synthetic spectra in the grid by taking the difference between the flux values of the synthetic and observed spectra at each wavelength point. We interpolated the model spectra on the wavelength grid of the observed spectra. The sum of the squares of these differences is obtained for each model in the grid, and the best model for each object is selected. The best models were finally inspected visually by comparing them with the corresponding observed spectra. Due to the lower signal-to-noise ratio in the SSO 2.3 m spectra bluewards of 500 nm (see Fig. 3), especially for spectral types later than M4, we excluded this region below 500 nm from the χ2 computation. We also checked the variation in effective temperature of the best fit as a function of the spectral type of the observed dwarfs. We found generally good agreement and conclude that our model-fitting procedure can be used to estimate the effective temperature with an uncertainty of ~100 K. The purpose of this fit is to determine the effective temperature by fitting the overall shape of the optical spectra. No attempt has been made to fit the individual atomic lines, such as the K I and Na I resonance doublets. With the available resolution we cannot constrain the metallicity, high-resolution spectra would be necessary (Rajpurohit et al. 2012a). In addition, we checked the influence of the spectral resolution on our derived temperatures. We degraded the resolution of the spectra of SSO 2.3 m down to 1 nm and redid the procedure. No systematic difference in Teff was found. The results are summarized in Tables 1 and 2.

5. Comparison between models and observations

5.1. Spectroscopic confrontation

The optical spectrum of M dwarfs is dominated by molecular band absorption, leaving no window onto the continuum (Allard 1990). The major opacity sources in the optical regions are due to TiO and VO bands, as well as to MgH, CaH, FeH hydride bands and CAOH hydroxide bands in late-type M dwarfs. In M dwarfs of spectral type later than M6, the outermost atmospheric layers fall below the condensation temperature of silicates, giving rise to the formation of dust clouds (Tsuji et al. 1996a,b; Allard et al. 1997).

We compared the two samples of M dwarfs with the most recent BT-Settl synthetic spectra in Figs. 2 and 3 through the entire M dwarf spectral sequence. The synthetic spectra reproduce very well the slope of the observed spectra across the M dwarf regime. This is a drastic improvement compared to previous comparisons of earlier models (e.g., Leggett et al. 1998).

However, some indications of missing opacities persist in the blue part of the late-type M dwarf, such as the B system of MgH (Skory et al. 2003), and TiO and VO opacities around 8200 Å. Opacities are totally missing for the CaOH band at 5570 Å. The missing hydride bands of AlH and NaH between 3800 and 4600 Å among others could be responsible for the remaining discrepancies. We note that chromospheric emission fills the Na I D transitions in the latest type M dwarfs displayed here.

We see in this spectral regime no signs of dust scattering or of the weakening of features due to sedimentation onto grains until the M8 and later spectral types, where the spectrum becomes flat due to the sedimentation of TiO and VO bands and to the veiling by dust scattering.

5.2. Photometric confrontation

thumbnail Fig. 4

Optical and NIR colors obtained with the 5 Gyr isochrones from Baraffe et al. (1998) at solar metallicity compared with the two observation samples (filled circles for the NTT sample and open circle for the SSO 2.3 m spectra). Typical error bars are comparable or smaller than the size of the symbols.

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thumbnail Fig. 5

Spectral type – Teff relation obtained with the NTT sample (filled circles) and the SSO 2.3 m sample (open circles) compared to relations by Bessell (1991), Gizis (1997), Leggett et al. (1996), Leggett et al. (2000), Testi (2009), and Luhman et al. (2003).

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The models can be validated by comparing published isochrones interpolated into the new BT-Settl synthetic color tables with observed photometry. We took the log g and Teff for the fixed age of 5 Gyr from Baraffe et al. (1998) isochrones and calculated the colors of the star according to the BT-Settl models. The models are compared to observations in color–color diagrams in Fig. 4 for our two samples. The compiled photometry in the NTT sample is less homogeneous and translates to a larger spread, in particular for colors including the V and R band. This dispersion becomes dramatic for the coolest and faintest stars except for lowest mass objects at very young ages. The isochrone reproduces the two samples over the entire M dwarf spectral range in most colors. In particular, the models reproduce the V-band colors of M dwarfs, as illustrated by the V − I,V − J, and V − K colors. An increasing offset to the latest types persists in the H − K and V − R color indices. The observations also suggest a flattening and possibly a rise in J − H and J − K to the latest types, which is not reproduced by the model. These inadequacies at the coolest temperature could be linked to missing opacities.

5.3. The Teff scale of M dwarfs

The effective temperature scale versus spectral type is shown in Fig. 5. The Teff scale determined using the NTT sample (filled circles) is in agreement with the SSO sample (open circles), but we found systematically 100 K higher Teff for SSO samples for spectral types later than M5. The relation shows a saturation trend for spectral types later than M8. This illustrates the fact that the optical spectrum no longer changes sensitively with Teff in this regime due to dust formation.

In the following we compare our scale to other works. Bessell (1991) determined the temperatures by comparing blackbodies to the NIR photometry of their sample. They used the temperature calibration of Wing & Rinsland (1979) and Veeder (1974). These calibrations were identical between 2700 ≤ Teff ≤ 3500 K. Their scale agrees with the modern values for M dwarfs earlier than M6, but becomes gradually too cool with later spectral types and too hot for earlier M types.

Leggett et al. (1996) used the base grid by Allard & Hauschildt (1995), which covers the range of parameters down to the coolest known M dwarfs, M subdwarfs, and brown dwarfs. They obtained the Teff of M dwarfs by comparing the observed spectra to the synthetic spectra. They performed their comparison independently at each of their four wavelength regions: red, J,H, and K. The different wavelength regions gave consistent values of Teff within 300 K. Gizis (1997) used the NextGen model atmosphere grid by Allard et al. (1997). These models include more molecular lines from ab initio simulations (in particular for water vapor) than the previous base model grid. Leggett et al. (2000) used the more modern AMES-Dusty model atmosphere grid by Allard et al. (2001). They obtained a revised Teff scale which is 150–200 K cooler for early Ms and 200 K hotter for late Ms than the scale presented in Fig. 5. Testi (2009) determined the Teff by fitting the synthetic spectra to the observations. They used three classes of models: the AMES-Dusty, AMES-Cond, and the BT-Settl models. With some individual exceptions they found that the BT-Settl models were the most appropriate for M type and early L-type dwarfs.

thumbnail Fig. 6

Colored Teff plots in different bands from the NTT sample (filled circles) and the SSO 2.3 m sample (open circles). Spectral types are also indicated. The predictions from BT-Settl (solid line), NextGen (dotted line), and AMES-Dusty (dash-dotted) for solar metallicities are over plotted. Theoretical masses in solar mass are indicated. Predictions from other authors are shown for comparison when available.

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Finally, for spectral types later than M0, Luhman et al. (2003) adopted the effective temperature, which is based on the NextGen and AMES-Dusty evolutionary models of Baraffe et al. (1998) and Chabrier et al. (2000), respectively. They obtained the Teff by comparing the H-R diagram from theoretical isochrones of Baraffe et al. (1998) and Chabrier et al. (2000). For M8 and M9, Luhman et al. (2003) adjusted the temperature scale from Luhman (1999), so that spectral sequence falls parallel to the isochrones. Their Teff conversion is likely to be inaccurate at some level, but as it falls between the scales for dwarfs and giants, the errors in Teff are modest.

The different Teff scales are in agreement within 250–300 K. But the Gizis (1997) relation shows the largest differences with the largest Teff-values (up to 500 K). This is due to the incompleteness of the TiO and water vapor line lists used in the NextGen model atmospheres. We also note also how the Luhman et al. (2003)Teff scale is gradually overestimating Teff towards the bottom of the main sequence for spectral types later than M4.

Teff versus color relations are shown in Fig. 6 in various photometric bands. The photometry of our NTT sample (filled circles) is compiled from the literature, which causes a large spread, particularly in the V and R band. The SSO 2.3 m sample (open circles) in comparison is more uniform. Our relations are compared to the predictions from BT-Settl isochrones at 5 Gyr. The relations show that the model is able to reproduce quite properly the colors of M dwarfs, even in the V-band. There is a slight offset visible in the R band due to missing molecular opacities (see above). These relations are compared to previously published relations when available.

Berriman et al. (1992) derive the Teff by matching the blackbody flux anchored at K band (2.2 μm) to the total bolometric flux, including both the spectroscopic and photometric observed data points. They estimated the uncertainties in Teff to be ±4%. Leggett et al. (1996) used the synthetic I − K and I − J colors to estimate Teff. Leggett et al. (1996) used synthetic broadband colors from the preliminary version of AMES-Dusty model produced by Allard et al. (1994). They used the V − K,I − K,J − H, and H − K colors assuming log g = 5.0 and solar metallicity, finding a hotter Teff scale (by on average 130 K) than that of Berriman et al. (1992). More recently, Casagrande et al. (2008) used the PHOENIX Cond-GAIA model atmosphere grid (Hauschildt, unpublished) to determine the atmospheric parameters of their sample of 343 nearby M dwarfs with high-quality optical and NIR photometry. These models are similar to those published by Allard et al. (2001), with the exception that they were computed by solving the radiative transfer in spherical symmetry. The authors determined the Teff using a version of the multiple optical-infrared method (IRFM) generalized to M dwarfs, and elaborated by Blackwell & Shallis (1977) and Blackwell et al. (1979, 1980). Figure 6 shows that the Casagrande et al. (2008)Teff scale is systematically, and progressively with decreasing Teff, cooler than the BT-Settl isochrones. Given that a large number of stars are common with Casagrande et al. (2008) sample, we did a star-by-star comparison of the Teff determination. The values are given in Tables 1 and 2. The comparison confirms the systematic offset in the temperature scale. For cooler stars with Teff < 3000 K, the Teff determinations diverge by 100 to 300 K. This is due, among other things, to the use of the Grevesse et al. (1993) solar elemental abundances (see Allard et al. 2012, for a comparison of the different solar elemental abundance determinations and their effects on model atmospheres).

6. Conclusion

We have compared a revised version of the BT-Settl model atmospheres (Allard et al. 2012a) to the observed NTT and SSO 2.3 m spectra and colors. This new version uses the Caffau et al. (2011) solar elemental abundances, updates to the atomic and molecular line broadening, and the TiO line list from Plez (1998) and Plez (priv. comm.). This list provides a more accurate description of the TiO bands in the M dwarfs. The systematic discrepancy between the delta and epsilon bands found by Reiners (2005), which seriously affected the effective temperature determination, is largely alleviated by using the Plez (1998) and Plez (priv. comm.) TiO line list although discrepancies remain for the coolest stars. The BT-Settl models reproduce the SED and observed colors across the M dwarfs’ spectral regime in unprecedented quality, as well as the colors. The V band is also well reproduced by the models. Discrepancies remain in the strength of some molecular absorption bands while other absorption bands are missing, in particular in the blue spectral range.

Effective temperatures were determined by using a least-square minimization routine, which gives accurate temperatures within 100 K uncertainty. We compared our temperature color to relations using multi-wavelength photometry with the predictions from BT-Settl isochrones, assuming an age of 5 Gyr. In general, the BT-Settl isochrones are in good agreement with the observed colors, even at temperatures below 2800 K affected by dust treatment in the BT-Settl models. We found that the Casagrande et al. (2008)Teff scale is systematically cooler than the BT-Settl isochrones due, among other things, to the Grevesse et al. (1993) solar elemental abundances adopted in the GAIA-Cond model atmosphere grid used for that work. In contrast the Luhman et al. (2003)Teff scale is progressively too hot towards the bottom of the main sequence. New interior and evolution models based on the BT-Settl models are currently being prepared.

We provide and compare temperature versus color relations in the optical and infrared, which match well the BT-Settl isochrones and can be further used for large photometric datasets. We determined the effective temperature scale for the M dwarfs in our samples. It extended down to the latest type of M dwarfs, where the dust cloud begins to form in their atmosphere.


3

Standard temperature 296 K and pressure 1 atm.

Acknowledgments

The use of Simbad and Vizier databases at CDS as well as the ARICNS database were very helpful for this research. The research leading to these results has received funding from the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche, the Programme National de Physique Stellaire of CNRS (INSU), and the European Research Council under the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013 Grant Agreement no. 247060). It was also conducted within the Lyon Institute of Origins under grant ANR-10-LABX-66. The computations were performed at the Pôle Scientifique de Modélisation Numérique (PSMN) at the École Normale Supérieure in Lyon, and at the Gesellschaft für Wissenschaftliche Datenverarbeitung Göttingen in collaboration with the Institut für Astrophysik Göttingen.

References

Online material

Table 1

Observable and physical quantities for our sample of stars observed at NTT with EMMI.

Table 2

Observable and physical quantities for our sample of stars observed at SSO.

All Tables

Table 1

Observable and physical quantities for our sample of stars observed at NTT with EMMI.

Table 2

Observable and physical quantities for our sample of stars observed at SSO.

All Figures

thumbnail Fig. 1

Teff vs. NIR colors (left panel) and color-color plot (right panel) for observed M dwarfs (open and filled circle) compared to the values obtained with the 5 Gyr isochrones from Baraffe et al. (1998) at various metallicities.

Open with DEXTER
In the text
thumbnail Fig. 2

Optical to red SED of M dwarfs from M0 to M9.5 observed with the NTT at a spectral resolution of 10.4 Å compared to the best fit BT-Settl synthetic spectra (red lines). The models displayed have a surface gravity of log g = 5.0 to 5.5. Telluric features near 7600 Å were ignored from the chi-square minimization.

Open with DEXTER
In the text
thumbnail Fig. 3

Optical to red SED of M dwarfs from M1 to M8 observed with the SSO 2.3 m at a spectral resolution of 1.4 Å compared to the best fitting (chi-square minimization) BT-Settl synthetic spectra (red lines). The models displayed have a surface gravity of log g = 5.0 to 5.5. At blue wavelengths (<5000 Å) the instrumental noise dominates the late-type M dwarfs.

Open with DEXTER
In the text
thumbnail Fig. 4

Optical and NIR colors obtained with the 5 Gyr isochrones from Baraffe et al. (1998) at solar metallicity compared with the two observation samples (filled circles for the NTT sample and open circle for the SSO 2.3 m spectra). Typical error bars are comparable or smaller than the size of the symbols.

Open with DEXTER
In the text
thumbnail Fig. 5

Spectral type – Teff relation obtained with the NTT sample (filled circles) and the SSO 2.3 m sample (open circles) compared to relations by Bessell (1991), Gizis (1997), Leggett et al. (1996), Leggett et al. (2000), Testi (2009), and Luhman et al. (2003).

Open with DEXTER
In the text
thumbnail Fig. 6

Colored Teff plots in different bands from the NTT sample (filled circles) and the SSO 2.3 m sample (open circles). Spectral types are also indicated. The predictions from BT-Settl (solid line), NextGen (dotted line), and AMES-Dusty (dash-dotted) for solar metallicities are over plotted. Theoretical masses in solar mass are indicated. Predictions from other authors are shown for comparison when available.

Open with DEXTER
In the text

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