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Radii of 88 M Subdwarfs and Updated Radius Relations for Low-metallicity M-dwarf Stars

Kesseli, Aurora Y. and Kirkpatrick, J. Davy and Fajardo-Acosta, Sergio B. and Penny, Matthew T. and Gaudi, B. Scott and Veyette, Mark and Boeshaar, Patricia C. and Henderson, Calen B. and Cushing, Michael C. and Calchi Novati, Sebastiano and Shvartzvald, Y. and Muirhead, Philip S. (2019) Radii of 88 M Subdwarfs and Updated Radius Relations for Low-metallicity M-dwarf Stars. Astronomical Journal, 157 (2). Art. No. 63. ISSN 1538-3881.

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M subdwarfs are low-metallicity M dwarfs that typically inhabit the halo population of the Galaxy. Metallicity controls the opacity of stellar atmospheres; in metal-poor stars, hydrostatic equilibrium is reached at a smaller radius, leading to smaller radii for a given effective temperature. We compile a sample of 88 stars that span spectral classes K7 to M6 and include stars with metallicity classes from solar-metallicity dwarf stars to the lowest metallicity ultra subdwarfs to test how metallicity changes the stellar radius. We fit models to Palomar Double Spectrograph (DBSP) optical spectra to derive effective temperatures (T_(eff)) and we measure bolometric luminosities (L_(bol)) by combining broad wavelength-coverage photometry with Gaia parallaxes. Radii are then computed by combining the T_(eff) and L_(bol) using the Stefan–Boltzman law. We find that for a given temperature, ultra subdwarfs can be as much as five times smaller than their solar-metallicity counterparts. We present color-radius and color-surface brightness relations that extend down to [Fe/H] of −2.0 dex, in order to aid the radius determination of M subdwarfs, which will be especially important for the WFIRSTexoplanetary microlensing survey.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Kesseli, Aurora Y.0000-0002-3239-5989
Kirkpatrick, J. Davy0000-0003-4269-260X
Fajardo-Acosta, Sergio B.0000-0001-9309-0102
Penny, Matthew T.0000-0001-7506-5640
Gaudi, B. Scott0000-0003-0395-9869
Veyette, Mark0000-0002-0385-2183
Henderson, Calen B.0000-0001-8877-9060
Cushing, Michael C.0000-0001-7780-3352
Calchi Novati, Sebastiano0000-0002-7669-1069
Shvartzvald, Y.0000-0003-1525-5041
Muirhead, Philip S.0000-0002-0638-8822
Additional Information:© 2019 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2018 September 4; revised 2018 October 12; accepted 2018 October 15; published 2019 January 22. The authors would like to thank the entire NEOWISE and CatWISE team at IPAC, as well as Avani Gowardhan, Rebecca Larson, Savannah Jacklin, Chris Theissen, and Pat Tamburo for useful conversations throughout the paper process. Part of this work was performed while AYK was a Visiting Graduate Student Research Fellow at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC), California Institute of Technology. This publication makes use of data products from the Two Micron All Sky Survey, which is a joint project of the University of Massachusetts and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation. This publication makes use of data products from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, which is a joint project of the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Funding for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey IV has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, and the Participating Institutions. SDSS-IV acknowledges support and resources from the Center for High-Performance Computing at the University of Utah. The SDSS website is SDSS-IV is managed by the Astrophysical Research Consortium for the Participating Institutions of the SDSS Collaboration including the Brazilian Participation Group, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Carnegie Mellon University, the Chilean Participation Group, the French Participation Group, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, The Johns Hopkins University, Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (IPMU)/University of Tokyo, the Korean Participation Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Leibniz Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP), Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie (MPIA Heidelberg), Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik (MPA Garching), Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik (MPE), National Astronomical Observatories of China, New Mexico State University, New York University, University of Notre Dame, Observatário Nacional/MCTI, The Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, United Kingdom Participation Group, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, University of Arizona, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Oxford, University of Portsmouth, University of Utah, University of Virginia, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin, Vanderbilt University, and Yale University. The Pan-STARRS1 Surveys (PS1) and the PS1 public science archive have been made possible through contributions by the Institute for Astronomy, the University of Hawaii, the Pan-STARRS Project Office, the Max-Planck Society and its participating institutes, the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, The Johns Hopkins University, Durham University, the University of Edinburgh, the Queen's University Belfast, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network Incorporated, the National Central University of Taiwan, the Space Telescope Science Institute, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under grant No. NNX08AR22G issued through the Planetary Science Division of the NASA Science Mission Directorate, the National Science Foundation grant No. AST-1238877, the University of Maryland, Eotvos Lorand University (ELTE), the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. This work made use of data from the European Space Agency (ESA) mission Gaia (, processed by the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium (DPAC, Funding for the DPAC has been provided by national institutions, in particular the institutions participating in the Gaia Multilateral Agreement. This research has made use of the SVO Filter Profile Service ( supported from the Spanish MINECO through grant AyA2014-55216. This research has benefitted from the SpeX Prism Library (and/or SpeX Prism Library Analysis Toolkit), maintained by Adam Burgasser at This research made use of Astropy, a community developed core Python package for Astronomy (Astropy Collaboration et al. 2013). This research has made use of the SIMBAD database, operated at CDS, Strasbourg, France. Facilities: IRTF (iSHELL) - , Palomar (DBSP) - . Software: Spextool (Cushing et al. 2004).
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)UNSPECIFIED
Participating InstitutionsUNSPECIFIED
University of MarylandUNSPECIFIED
Eotvos Lorand University (ELTE)UNSPECIFIED
Los Alamos National LaboratoryUNSPECIFIED
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Gaia Multilateral AgreementUNSPECIFIED
Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad (MINECO)AyA2014-55216
Subject Keywords:stars: abundances – stars: fundamental parameters – stars: low-mass – subdwarfs
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190123-083021192
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Aurora Y. Kesseli et al 2019 AJ 157 63
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:92413
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:23 Jan 2019 17:20
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 20:44

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