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Alpha Centauri A in the far infrared - First measurement of the temperature minimum of a star other than the Sun

Alpha Centauri A in the far infrared - First measurement of the temperature minimum of a star other than the Sun

Publication date: 10 January 2013

Authors: Liseau, R., et al.

Journal: Astronomy & Astrophysics Letters
Volume: 549
Page: L7
Year: 2013

Copyright: ESO

Context. Chromospheres and coronae are common phenomena on solar-type stars. Understanding the energy transfer to these heated atmospheric layers requires direct access to the relevant empirical data. Study of these structures has, by and large, been limited to the Sun thus far.

Aims. The region of the temperature reversal can be directly observed only in the far infrared and submillimetre spectral regime. We aim at determining the characteristics of the atmosphere in the region of the temperature minimum of the solar sister star alpha Cen A. As a bonus this will also provide a detailed mapping of the spectral energy distribution, i.e. knowledge that is crucial when searching for faint, Kuiper belt-like dust emission around other stars.

Methods. For the nearby binary system alpha Cen, stellar parameters are known with high accuracy from measurements. For the basic model parameters T_eff, log g and [Fe/H], we interpolate stellar model atmospheres in the grid of Gaia/PHOENIX and compute the corresponding model for the G2 V star alpha Cen A. Comparison with photometric measurements shows excellent agreement between observed photospheric data in the optical and infrared. For longer wavelengths, the modelled spectral energy distribution is compared to Spitzer-MIPS, Herschel-PACS, Herschel-SPIRE, and APEX-LABOCA photometry. A specifically tailored Uppsala model based on the MARCS code and extending further in wavelength is used to gauge the emission characteristics of alpha Cen A in the far infared.
[Abstract abbreviated due to character limitations.]

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