We describe the Zonal Atmospheric Stellar Parameters Estimator (ZASPE), a new algorithm, and its associated code, for determining precise stellar atmospheric parameters and their uncertainties from high-resolution echelle spectra of FGK-type stars. ZASPE estimates stellar atmospheric parameters by comparing the observed spectrum against a grid of synthetic spectra only in the most sensitive spectral zones to changes in the atmospheric parameters. Realistic uncertainties in the parameters are computed from the data itself, by taking into account the systematic mismatches between the observed spectrum and the best-fitting synthetic one. The covariances between the parameters are also estimated in the process. ZASPE can in principle use any pre-calculated grid of synthetic spectra, but unbiased grids are required to obtain accurate parameters. We tested the performance of two existing libraries, and we concluded that neither is suitable for computing precise atmospheric parameters. We describe a process to synthesize a new library of synthetic spectra that was found to generate consistent results when compared with parameters obtained with different methods (interferometry, asteroseismology, equivalent widths).
- Methods: data analysis
- Planetary systems
- Stars: fundamental parameters
- Techniques: spectroscopic