M Dwarf Spectra from 0.6 to 1.5 Microns: A Spectral Sequence, Model Atmosphere Fitting, and the Temperature Scale

January 1993 • 1993ApJ...402..643K

Authors • Kirkpatrick, J. D. • Kelly, Douglas M. • Rieke, George H. • Liebert, James • Allard, France • Wehrse, Rainer

Abstract • Red/infrared (0.6-1.5 micron) spectra are presented for a sequence of well-studied M dwarfs ranging from M2 through M9. A variety of temperature-sensitive features useful for spectral classification are identified. Using these features, the spectral data are compared to recent theoretical models, from which a temperature scale is assigned. The red portion of the model spectra provide reasonably good fits for dwarfs earlier than M6. For layer types, the infrared region provides a more reliable fit to the observations. In each case, the wavelength region used includes the broad peak of the energy distribution. For a given spectral type, the derived temperature sequence assigns higher temperatures than have earlier studies - the difference becoming more pronounced at lower luminosities. The positions of M dwarfs on the H-R diagram are, as a result, in closer agreement with theoretical tracks of the lower main sequence.


IPAC Authors


Davy Kirkpatrick

Senior Scientist