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Spectral Templates - Late type stars at 2.15-2.43μm

Spectral templates (usually late type stars) are required for the analysis of kinematical data on external galaxies (or other stellar ensembles). In the near-IR, the most commonly used features are the CO overtone bands at lambda > 2.3μm. Although observational and theoretical libraries exist at lower spectral resolutions (R<3000), no comprehensive set of stellar kinematic templates was available to be used with two of the configurations of Gemini NIR instruments used for stellar population kinematic studies in external galaxies - NIFS and GNIRS 111 l/mm grating  (both longslit and IFU) - and all programmes using those configurations would invariably spend some science time taking a small set of stellar spectra to use as templates. This led to a constant duplication of data taking, since those targets are programme calibrations and are not made available to other users until the end of the default 18 months proprietary period.

During semester 2006B at Gemini South, given the extraordinarily poor conditions over the whole semester, and the eventual end of true "poor weather" programmes in the queue, a Director's Discretionary "poor weather" programme was carried out to provide the NIR community with a larger set of late (F7 to M3;  types I, II, III and V) stellar spectra, with intermediate S/N (30-50), including the four CO overtone bands (2.24-2.42μm) at R~6000 resolution. A subset of the targets was also observed at a slightly bluer spectral range to improve usefulness for NIFS users, overlapping with the red setting on the first two CO bands.

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Library Description

The GNIRS library of  late spectral templates
Instrument configuration
GNIRS IFU+111 l/mm grating in the K band
"Red" setting
λc=2.335μm (2.24-2.43μm), dλ=1.84 Å/pixel
FWHM (arc lines) = 1.82 pixel
"Blue" setting
λc= 2.245μm (2.15-2.33μm), dλ=1.85 Å/pixel
FWHM (arc lines) = 1.88 pixel
combined spectrum
2.15-2.43μm, rebinned to dλ = 1 Å/pixel
Observed sample
29 objects in the "red" setting, from F7III to M3III
Of these, 23 objects were also observed in the "blue" setting

The observed sample was selected from a list kindly provided by Greg Doppmann, compiled from the literature (mostly based in Cayrel et al 1997), and the selection was based exclusively on observability: targets which were visible for as long as possible during the 06B semester, bright enough to provide the desired S/N on a reasonable on-source time under CC=90, IQ=ANY conditions, and having a hot (A0-A7) star close enough (and bright enough!) to be used for telluric correction. The fact that both target and telluric stars also had to have a bright (V<13mag) guide star available as well, restricted even more the choices.

The observing conditions also determined the instrument configuration: to achieve R=5900 with GNIRS in long slit mode, one would have to use the 0.30" slit - implying in very large slit losses under IQ=Any (FWHM>0.80" in K) seeing. Given the superior GNIRS IFU performance in the K band (over 90% of that of the equivalent long slit mode), there was only a small loss in sensitivity by using the IFU+111 l/mm grating configuration. On the other hand, the small field-of-view of the IFU required the observations to be carried out in a object-sky-sky-object pattern, but even with a 50% reduction in on-source time,  this setup still proved to be very efficient at the telescope.

All data collected for this programme (GS-2006B-DD-3, PI: Winge) has been made public in the Gemini Science Archive. This page contains links to the table of final processed spectra, details of the data reduction, and some examples of the template use with actual GNIRS and NIFS science data. The community at large is welcome to download all or part of the library as needed, and users of GNIRS or NIFS are encouraged to explore its use as an alternative to requesting further observation of spectral standards with their science programmes. If the raw data are re-processed to be used in papers or publications, please use the standard Gemini acknowledgement text and the above programme ID. For the processed data contained in this page,  the authors would appreciate acknowledgement of the library use (Winge, Riffel and Storchi-Bergmann (in preparation), please point to this URL until the actual paper appears).

The data are presented in standard FITS format, and the user can select either the red (2.24-2.42μm) or blue (2.15-2.32μm) spectral ranges at their native spectral binning; or the combined spectrum (when both ranges were observed), rebinned to 1 Å/pix. As the data reduction progressed, I realized that several steps could be improved, but rather than go back and reprocess everything, the decision was to publish the library and implement subsequent changes in the form of new release versions. Current release is Version 1.0.

The authors would like to thank the Gemini Deputy Director and Head of Science, Jean-Rene Roy, and the Gemini South Head of Science Operations, Michael West, for the support and time allocation for this programme. Many thanks as well to all the Gemini South observers and SSAs that so positively believed that no conditions were ever too poor to give GS-2006B-DD-3 a chance!

History and release notes:

2007 Apr 10 - Version 1.0 uploaded to the Gemini Web Site.

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Last update 2007 April 09; Claudia Winge