Model atmospheres for cool massive stars

Bertrand Plez

GRAAL, Université Montpellier 2, France

In this review given at the Hot and Cool: Bridging Gaps in Massive Star Evolution conference, I present the state of the art in red supergiant star atmosphere modelling. The last generation of hydrostatic 1D LTE MARCS models publicly released in 2008 have allowed great achievements in the past years, like the calibration of effective temperature scales. I rapidly describe this release, and then I discuss in some length the impact of the opacity sampling approximation on the thermal structure of models and on their emergent spectra. I also insist on limitations inherent to these models. Estimates of collisional and radiative time scales for electronic transitions in e.g. TiO suggest that non-LTE effects are important, and should be further investigated. Classical 1D models are not capable either to provide the large and non-gaussian velocity fields we know exist in red supergiants atmospheres. I therefore also present current efforts in 3D radiative hydrodynamical simulation of RSGs. I show that line profiles and shifts are predicted by these simulations, without the need for fudge micro- and macroturbulence velocities. This is a great progress, although line depths and widths are slightly too shallow. This is probably caused by the simplified grey radiative transfer used in these heavy simulations. Future non-grey 3D simulations should provide a better fit to observations in terms of line strengths and widths.

Reference: invited talk at the Hot and Cool: Bridging Gaps in Massive Star Evolution conference, Pasadena, 2008, November, Eds: C. Leitherer, Ph. D. Bennett, P. W. Morris, J. Th. van Loon
Status: Conference proceedings