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Automated Determination of [Fe/H] and [C/Fe] from Low-Resolution Spectroscopy

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DOI: 10.1088/0004-6256/138/2/533
arXiv ID: 0907.0258
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We develop an automated spectral synthesis technique for the estimation of metallicities ([Fe/H]) and carbon abundances ([C/Fe]) for metal-poor stars, including carbon-enhanced metal-poor stars, for which other methods may prove insufficient. This technique, autoMOOG, is designed to operate on relatively strong features visible in even low- to medium-resolution spectra, yielding results comparable to much more telescope-intensive high-resolution studies. We validate this method by comparison with 913 stars which have existing high-resolution and low- to medium-resolution to medium-resolution spectra, and that cover a wide range of stellar parameters. We find that at low metallicities ([Fe/H] < -2.0), we successfully recover both the metallicity and carbon abundance, where possible, with an accuracy of ~ 0.20 dex. At higher metallicities, due to issues of continuum placement in spectral normalization done prior to the running of autoMOOG, a general underestimate of the overall metallicity of a star is seen, although the carbon abundance is still successfully recovered. As a result, this method is only recommended for use on samples of stars of known sufficiently low metallicity. For these low-metallicity stars, however, autoMOOG performs much more consistently and quickly than similar, existing techniques, which should allow for analyses of large samples of metal-poor stars in the near future. Steps to improve and correct the continuum placement difficulties are being pursued.

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