Cool zero-metallicity stellar atmospheres

D. Saumon, P. Bergeron, J. I. Lunine, W. B. Hubbard, A. Burrows

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


Very low mass stars and brown dwarfs have low effective temperatures and their atmospheric opacities are provided by heavy elements which form a host of strongly absorbing molecules. We present a study of the atmospheres and emergent spectra of these objects in the limiting case of zero metallicity. A grid of atmosphere models is presented, based on updated opacities for H/He mixtures, in particular for the collision-induced absorption by H2 which plays an important role in these atmospheres. The emergent spectra bear little resemblance to the corresponding blackbody emission and become bluer as the effective temperature is lowered. The atmosphere models are coupled with interior calculations to obtain accurate physical and photometric characteristics for the low-mass end of the zero-metallicity main sequence. This provides a useful boundary in the Hertzsprung-Russel diagram to interpret observations of low-metallicity stars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-344
Number of pages12
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 20 1994


  • Stars: abundances
  • Stars: atmospheres
  • Stars: low-mass, brown dwarfs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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