AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 93 Stars, Their Facts and Legends
Poster, Wednesday, January 7, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Hanover Hall

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[93.06] Implications of M dwarf Metallicities: The Mass-Luminosity Relationship and Planetary Companions.

J. L. Bean, G. F. Benedict, C. Sneden, M. Endl (University of Texas and McDonald Observatory), C. M. Johns-Krull (Rice University), T. J. Henry (Georgia State University)

In our galaxy, M dwarfs are the most abundant stellar objects. They make up over 70% of stars in number and contribute over 40% of the total stellar mass content (Henry et al. 1998). Despite these overwhelming numbers, M dwarfs remain one of the least understood stellar types due to a lack of empirical data concerning their basic parameters, particularly metallicities. Our research is focused on determining M dwarf metallicities because of their importance in answering two important astrophysical questions: How does varying metallicity affect the luminosity of M dwarfs; and, is there any correlation between the frequency of the presence of planetary mass compansions around M dwarfs and the host star's metallicity? Here we first describe spectral synthesis as a technique for determining M dwarf metallicities. We also present our plan for assessing the systematic errors inherent to this technique and discuss preliminary results. Fianlly, we present our plan to measure the metallicities of M dwarfs with accurately determined masses and M dwarfs on planet detection programs.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: bean@astro.as.utexas.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.