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Recent observations of some hot DA white dwarfs (Feige 24, G191 B2B - Sion et al. 1992, Ap.J. 391, L29; Vennes et al. 1992, Ap.J. 392, L27) and subsequent analyses have demonstrated that their atmospheres are contaminated with heavy metal species with appreciable abundances. So far, modeling was mostly limited to calculating synthetic spectra (usually in LTE), based on previously calculated model atmospheres that were constructed assuming a simplified chemical composition. However, in reality the metal lines may also significantly influence the temperature structure, and consequently the ionization balance of some important species. Since the effective temperature is rather high (55000 to 60000 K), the NLTE effects may be important despite the high gravity. Therefore, in order to settle the question on metal abundanes of hot DA white dwarfs, we need to calculate NLTE fully line blanketed model atmospheres.
Using our previously developed hybrid complete linearization/accelerated lambda iteration method, we have calculated a set of NLTE models including H, He, C, N, O, and Fe, with some 13000 lines of Fe IV, Fe V and Fe VI taken into account explicitly in model construction. The NLTE departure coefficients for all levels of Fe IV, Fe V, and Fe VI are then employed in the spectrum synthesis program SYNSPEC. In the first part of this study, we present a theoretical comparison between models computed with adding more and more opacity sources, and show how the temperature structure and synthetic spectra develop. We also discuss possible errors arising from using an inconsistent spectrum synthesis (the metals considered only in the spectrum synthesis, not in the model construction). In the second part, we compare the computed UV spectra with with available observations of Feige 24 and G191 B2B, and deduce limits for the iron abundance of these stars.
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