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Astron. Astrophys. 328, 349-360 (1997)

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6. Metallicity effects

The colours of late-A and F stars can be significantly affected by the effects of metallicity, due to the vast amount of metal lines. Unfortunately, there are no such objects as fundamental metallicity stars; all abundance determinations are model dependent. The Strömgren uvby system has a metallicity index ([FORMULA]) which can be used to estimate the overall metal abundance ([M/H]) of late-A, F and early-G stars (Strömgren 1966). Several good empirical relationships are available (Smalley 1993a and references therein).

One of the major discrepancies found by Relyea & Kurucz (1978) was in the [FORMULA] index, calculated from the Kurucz (1979a) model fluxes. The [FORMULA] index for A and F stars disagreed with the observed values. Fig. 6 shows how well the various solar-composition grids compare with the main-sequence [FORMULA] values listed in Philip & Egret (1980). It is clear that none of the models agrees completely with the main-sequence [FORMULA] values, and all are discrepant for late-type stars. Large differences are caused by the different treatments of convection. Hence, the [FORMULA] appears to be a sensitive indicator of convection in cool stars. Interestingly, for cool models, the Relyea & Kurucz (1978) [FORMULA] values are coincident with the MLT OV line, even though the newer MLT OV models contain much improved line opacity. This may indicate that the problem is more fundamental, and not due to the effects of line opacity alone. In addition, [FORMULA] is sensitive to the adopted value of microturbulence (Strömgren 1966; Kurucz 1991b). All the models discussed here were calculated with a microturbulence of 2 km s-1, but lowering its value reduces the discrepancy for the coolest models. Microturbulence is a free parameter in the models, but is probably closely related to the small-scale part of the photospheric convective flow pattern (Holweger & Stürenburg 1993; see also Cowley 1996). Clearly, further investigations into the cause of this discrepancy need to be performed.

[FIGURE] Fig. 6. The observational main-sequence [FORMULA] reference line (Philip & Egret 1980) and the position of the [FORMULA] main sequence as predicted by the three grids. The original Relyea & Kurucz (1978) [FORMULA] main-sequence line is given for reference. Clearly, none of the models can reproduce fully the observed [FORMULA] main sequence and the [FORMULA] index appears to be highly sensitive to treatment of convection.
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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997

Online publication: March 24, 1998

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