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 A 2dF survey of the Small Magellanic CloudWe present a catalogue of new spectral types for hot, luminous stars inthe Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC). The catalogue contains 4161 objects,giving an order-of-magnitude increase in the number of SMC stars withpublished spectroscopic classifications. The targets are primarily B-and A-type stars (2862 and 853 objects respectively), with oneWolf-Rayet, 139 O-type and 306 FG stars, sampling the main sequence to~mid-B. The selection and classification criteria are described, andobjects of particular interest are discussed, including UV-selectedtargets from the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UIT) experiment, Be andB[e] stars, anomalous A supergiants' and composite-spectrum systems. Weexamine the incidence of Balmer-line emission, and the relationshipbetween Hγ equivalent width and absolute magnitude for BA stars. HD 183143: A HypergiantWe present spectroscopic evidence that the luminosity of HD 183143 ishigher by one magnitude than thought previously. The star is yet anotherB6-8 Ia-0 white hypergiant of the Galaxy. Its absolute visual magnitudeis close to -8 mag, and its distance is close to 2 kpc. We describespectroscopic manifestations of the nonstationary behavior of itsatmosphere and wind. The Indo-US Library of Coudé Feed Stellar SpectraWe have obtained spectra for 1273 stars using the 0.9 m coudéfeed telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. This telescope feedsthe coudé spectrograph of the 2.1 m telescope. The spectra havebeen obtained with the no. 5 camera of the coudé spectrograph anda Loral 3K×1K CCD. Two gratings have been used to provide spectralcoverage from 3460 to 9464 Å, at a resolution of ~1 Å FWHMand at an original dispersion of 0.44 Å pixel-1. For885 stars we have complete spectra over the entire 3460 to 9464 Åwavelength region (neglecting small gaps of less than 50 Å), andpartial spectral coverage for the remaining stars. The 1273 stars havebeen selected to provide broad coverage of the atmospheric parametersTeff, logg, and [Fe/H], as well as spectral type. The goal ofthe project is to provide a comprehensive library of stellar spectra foruse in the automated classification of stellar and galaxy spectra and ingalaxy population synthesis. In this paper we discuss thecharacteristics of the spectral library, viz., details of theobservations, data reduction procedures, and selection of stars. We alsopresent a few illustrations of the quality and information available inthe spectra. The first version of the complete spectral library is nowpublicly available from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory(NOAO) via ftp and http. Classification of Spectra from the Infrared Space Observatory PHT-S DatabaseWe have classified over 1500 infrared spectra obtained with the PHT-Sspectrometer aboard the Infrared Space Observatory according to thesystem developed for the Short Wavelength Spectrometer (SWS) spectra byKraemer et al. The majority of these spectra contribute to subclassesthat are either underrepresented in the SWS spectral database or containsources that are too faint, such as M dwarfs, to have been observed byeither the SWS or the Infrared Astronomical Satellite Low ResolutionSpectrometer. There is strong overall agreement about the chemistry ofobjects observed with both instruments. Discrepancies can usually betraced to the different wavelength ranges and sensitivities of theinstruments. Finally, a large subset of the observations (~=250 spectra)exhibit a featureless, red continuum that is consistent with emissionfrom zodiacal dust and suggest directions for further analysis of thisserendipitous measurement of the zodiacal background.Based on observations with the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO), aEuropean Space Agency (ESA) project with instruments funded by ESAMember States (especially the Principle Investigator countries: France,Germany, Netherlands, and United Kingdom) and with the participation ofthe Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) and the NationalAeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). A Method of Correcting Near-Infrared Spectra for Telluric AbsorptionWe present a method for correcting near-infrared medium-resolutionspectra for telluric absorption. The method makes use of a spectrum ofan A0 V star, observed near in time and close in air mass to the targetobject, and a high-resolution model of Vega, to construct a telluriccorrection spectrum that is free of stellar absorption features. Thetechnique was designed specifically to perform telluric corrections onspectra obtained with SpeX, a 0.8-5.5 μm medium-resolutioncross-dispersed spectrograph at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility,and uses the fact that for medium resolutions there exist spectralregions uncontaminated by atmospheric absorption lines. However, it isalso applicable (in a somewhat modified form) to spectra obtained withother near-infrared spectrographs. An IDL-based code that carries outthe procedures is available for downloading via the World Wide Web.Based on observations obtained with the Infrared Telescope Facility,which is operated by the University of Hawaii under contract to theNational Aeronautics and Space Administration. Characteristics and classification of A-type supergiants in the Small Magellanic CloudWe address the relationship between spectral type and physicalproperties for A-type supergiants in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC).First, we construct a self-consistent classification scheme for Asupergiants, employing the calcium K to Hɛ line ratio as atemperature-sequence discriminant. Following the precepts of the MKprocess', the same morphological criteria are applied to Galactic andSMC spectra, with the understanding that there may not be acorrespondence in physical properties between spectral counterparts indifferent environments. Then we discuss the temperature scale,concluding that A supergiants in the SMC are systematically cooler thantheir Galactic counterparts at the same spectral type, by up to ~10 percent. Considering the relative line strengths of Hγ and the CH Gband, we extend our study to F- and early G-type supergiants, for whichsimilar effects are found. We note the implications for analyses ofluminous extragalactic supergiants, for the flux-weightedgravity-luminosity relationship and for population synthesis studies inunresolved stellar systems. Search for magnetic fields in A-type supergiantsWe have searched for magnetic signatures in A-type supergiants. Theobtained magnetic values for seven of these stars are presented here. High-Resolution Observations of Interstellar Ca I Absorption-Implications for Depletions and Electron Densities in Diffuse CloudsWe present high-resolution (FWHM~0.3-1.5 km s-1) spectra,obtained with the AAT UHRF, the McDonald Observatory 2.7 m coudéspectrograph, and/or the KPNO coudé feed, of interstellar Ca Iabsorption toward 30 Galactic stars. Comparisons of the column densitiesof Ca I, Ca II, K I, and other species-for individual componentsidentified in the line profiles and also when integrated over entirelines of sight-yield information on relative electron densities anddepletions (dependent on assumptions regarding the ionizationequilibrium). There is no obvious relationship between the ratio N(CaI)/N(Ca II) [equal to ne/(Γ/αr) forphotoionization equilibrium] and the fraction of hydrogen in molecularform f(H2) (often taken to be indicative of the local densitynH). For a smaller sample of sight lines for which thethermal pressure (nHT) and local density can be estimated viaanalysis of the C I fine-structure excitation, the average electrondensity inferred from C, Na, and K (assuming photoionizationequilibrium) seems to be independent of nH andnHT. While the electron density (ne) obtained fromthe ratio N(Ca I)/N(Ca II) is often significantly higher than the valuesderived from other elements, the patterns of relative nederived from different elements show both similarities and differencesfor different lines of sight-suggesting that additional processesbesides photoionization and radiative recombination commonly andsignificantly affect the ionization balance of heavy elements in diffuseinterstellar clouds. Such additional processes may also contribute tothe (apparently) larger than expected fractional ionizations(ne/nH) found for some lines of sight withindependent determinations of nH. In general, inclusion ofgrain-assisted'' recombination does reduce the inferred ne,but it does not reconcile the ne estimated from differentelements; it may, however, suggest some dependence of ne onnH. The depletion of calcium may have a much weakerdependence on density than was suggested by earlier comparisons with CHand CN. Two appendices present similar high-resolution spectra of Fe Ifor a few stars and give a compilation of column density data for Ca I,Ca II, Fe I, and S I. Catalogue of averaged stellar effective magnetic fields. I. Chemically peculiar A and B type starsThis paper presents the catalogue and the method of determination ofaveraged quadratic effective magnetic fields < B_e > for 596 mainsequence and giant stars. The catalogue is based on measurements of thestellar effective (or mean longitudinal) magnetic field strengths B_e,which were compiled from the existing literature.We analysed the properties of 352 chemically peculiar A and B stars inthe catalogue, including Am, ApSi, He-weak, He-rich, HgMn, ApSrCrEu, andall ApSr type stars. We have found that the number distribution of allchemically peculiar (CP) stars vs. averaged magnetic field strength isdescribed by a decreasing exponential function. Relations of this typehold also for stars of all the analysed subclasses of chemicalpeculiarity. The exponential form of the above distribution function canbreak down below about 100 G, the latter value representingapproximately the resolution of our analysis for A type stars.Table A.1 and its references are only available in electronic form atthe CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (130.79.128.5) or viahttp://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/407/631 and Tables 3 to 9are only available in electronic form at http://www.edpsciences.org New periodic variables from the Hipparcos epoch photometryTwo selection statistics are used to extract new candidate periodicvariables from the epoch photometry of the Hipparcos catalogue. Theprimary selection criterion is a signal-to-noise ratio. The dependenceof this statistic on the number of observations is calibrated usingabout 30000 randomly permuted Hipparcos data sets. A significance levelof 0.1 per cent is used to extract a first batch of candidate variables.The second criterion requires that the optimal frequency be unaffectedif the data are de-trended by low-order polynomials. We find 2675 newcandidate periodic variables, of which the majority (2082) are from theHipparcosunsolved' variables. Potential problems with theinterpretation of the data (e.g. aliasing) are discussed. Rotational velocities of A-type stars in the northern hemisphere. II. Measurement of v sin iThis work is the second part of the set of measurements of v sin i forA-type stars, begun by Royer et al. (\cite{Ror_02a}). Spectra of 249 B8to F2-type stars brighter than V=7 have been collected at Observatoirede Haute-Provence (OHP). Fourier transforms of several line profiles inthe range 4200-4600 Å are used to derive v sin i from thefrequency of the first zero. Statistical analysis of the sampleindicates that measurement error mainly depends on v sin i and thisrelative error of the rotational velocity is found to be about 5% onaverage. The systematic shift with respect to standard values fromSlettebak et al. (\cite{Slk_75}), previously found in the first paper,is here confirmed. Comparisons with data from the literature agree withour findings: v sin i values from Slettebak et al. are underestimatedand the relation between both scales follows a linear law ensuremath vsin inew = 1.03 v sin iold+7.7. Finally, thesedata are combined with those from the previous paper (Royer et al.\cite{Ror_02a}), together with the catalogue of Abt & Morrell(\cite{AbtMol95}). The resulting sample includes some 2150 stars withhomogenized rotational velocities. Based on observations made atObservatoire de Haute Provence (CNRS), France. Tables \ref{results} and\ref{merging} are only available in electronic form at the CDS viaanonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (130.79.125.5) or viahttp://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/393/897 The ISO-SWS post-helium atlas of near-infrared stellar spectraWe present an atlas of near-infrared spectra (2.36 mu m-4.1 mu m) of ~300 stars at moderate resolution (lambda /delta lambda ~ 1500-2000). Thespectra were recorded using the Short-Wavelength Spectrometer aboard theInfrared Space Observatory (ISO-SWS). The bulk of the observations wereperformed during a dedicated observation campaign after the liquidhelium depletion of the ISO satellite, the so-called post-heliumprogramme. This programme was aimed at extending the MK-classificationto the near-infrared. Therefore the programme covers a large range ofspectral types and luminosity classes. The 2.36 mu m-4.05 mu m region isa valuable spectral probe for both hot and cool stars. H I lines(Bracket, Pfund and Humphreys series), He I and He II lines, atomiclines and molecular lines (CO, H2O, NH, OH, SiO, HCN,C2H2, ...) are sensitive to temperature, gravityand/or the nature of the outer layers of the stellar atmosphere(outflows, hot circumstellar discs, etc.). Another objective of theprogramme was to construct a homogeneous dataset of near-infraredstellar spectra that can be used for population synthesis studies ofgalaxies. At near-infrared wavelengths these objects emit the integratedlight of all stars in the system. In this paper we present the datasetof post-helium spectra completed with observations obtained during thenominal operations of the ISO-SWS. We discuss the calibration of the SWSdata obtained after the liquid helium boil-off and the data reduction.We also give a first qualitative overview of how the spectral featuresin this wavelength range change with spectral type. The dataset isscrutinised in two papers on the quantitative classification ofnear-infrared spectra of early-type stars ({Lenorzer} et al.\cite{lenorzer:2002a}) and late-type stars (Vandenbussche et al., inprep). Based on observations with ISO, an ESA project with instrumentsfunded by ESA Members States (especially the PI countries France,Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom) and with theparticipation of ISAS and NASA. The full atlas is available inelectronic form at www.edpsciences.org Table 1 is only available inelectronic form at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr(130.79.128.5) or viahttp://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?/A+A/390/1033 Spectrum Variability of the A-Type Supergiant Star HD 223960HD 223960, an A0 Ia-type supergiant in the Cas OB5 association, isunusual among Galactic supergiants of its class in having an Hαprofile with double-peaked emission entirely above the continuum. Weanalyzed 12 high-resolution échelle spectra obtained in 1993-1995and in 1999 with the 1 m telescope of Ritter Observatory. The radialvelocities of photospheric Si, C, He, Ne, and S lines were found to beconstant to within +/-2 km s-1, but the data suggestvariability in the equivalent widths of Si II λλ6347, 6371and several other photospheric lines. The radial velocities andequivalent widths and, especially, the ratio V/R of the Hαcomponents vary. The present data do not indicate a binary explanationfor the double-peaked emission feature. Alternative explanations areconsidered, but none is completely satisfactory. The available evidenceis consistent with the star having a weak, fast wind. A High-Resolution Survey of Interstellar K I AbsorptionWe present high-resolution (FWHM ~0.4-1.8 km s-1) spectra,obtained with the AAT UHRF, the McDonald Observatory 2.7 m coudéspectrograph, and/or the KPNO coudé feed, of interstellar K Iabsorption toward 54 Galactic stars. These new K I spectra revealcomplex structure and narrow, closely blended components in many linesof sight. Multicomponent fits to the line profiles yield estimates forthe column densities, line widths, and velocities for 319 individualinterstellar cloud components. The median component width (FWHM) and thetrue median separation between adjacent components are both <~1.2 kms-1. The median and maximum individual component K I columndensities, about 4×1010 and 1012cm-2, correspond to individual component hydrogen columndensities of about 2×1020 and 1021cm-2 and E(B-V)~0.03 and 0.17, respectively. If T istypically ~100 K, then at least half the individual components havesubsonic internal turbulent velocities. We also reexamine therelationships between the column densities of K I, Na I, C I, Li I,Htot, H2, and CH. The four trace neutral speciesexhibit essentially linear relationships with each other over wideranges in overall column density. If C is uniformly depleted by 0.4 dex,then Li, Na, and K are each typically depleted by 0.6-0.7 dex. The totalline of sight values for N(K I) and N(Na I) show roughly quadraticdependences on N(Htot), but the relationships for theensemble of individual clouds could be significantly steeper. Thesequadratic (or steeper) dependences appear to rule out significantcontributions to the ionization from cosmic rays, X-rays, and/or chargeexchange with C II in most cases. Charge exchange with negativelycharged large molecules may often be more important than radiativerecombination in neutralizing most singly ionized atomic species in coolH I clouds, however-suggesting that the true ne,nH, and thermal pressures may be significantly smaller thanthe values estimated by considering only radiative recombination. BothN(CH) and N(H2) are nearly linearly proportional to N(K I)and N(Na I) [except for 1015cm-2<~N(H2)<~1019cm-2, over which H2 makes the transition to theself-shielded regime]. Those relationships appear also to hold for manyindividual components and component groups, suggesting thathigh-resolution spectra of K I and Na I can be very useful forinterpreting lower resolution molecular data. The scatter about allthese mean relationships is generally small (<~0.1-0.2 dex), ifcertain consistently discrepant'' sight lines are excluded-suggestingthat both the relative depletions and the relative ionization of Li, C,Na, and K are generally within factors of 2 of their mean values.Differences noted for sight lines in Sco-Oph, in the Pleiades, near theOrion Trapezium, and in the LMC and SMC may be due to differences in thestrength and/or shape of the ambient radiation fields, perhaps amplifiedby the effects of charge transfer with large molecules. Classification of Red Stars with Spectral Absorption Bands Observed in the Near-Infrared RangeThe results of a spectral classification of 257 M stars observed in theCepheus region are given. Their equatorial coordinates, photographicstellar magnitudes, and spectral subtypes were determined. These starsare giants and supergiants, in all probability. None of them appear in acatalog of variable stars. It is assumed that variability might bedetected in many of them upon further study. Fifty-two of the stars havebeen identified with infrared sources. Two-colour photometry for 9473 components of close Hipparcos double and multiple starsUsing observations obtained with the Tycho instrument of the ESAHipparcos satellite, a two-colour photometry is produced for componentsof more than 7 000 Hipparcos double and multiple stars with angularseparations 0.1 to 2.5 arcsec. We publish 9473 components of 5173systems with separations above 0.3 arcsec. The majority of them did nothave Tycho photometry in the Hipparcos catalogue. The magnitudes arederived in the Tycho B_T and V_T passbands, similar to the Johnsonpassbands. Photometrically resolved components of the binaries withstatistically significant trigonometric parallaxes can be put on an HRdiagram, the majority of them for the first time. Based on observationsmade with the ESA Hipparcos satellite. Stars with ISM Polarization Observed with HPOLPolarization data are given for stars whose polarizations are mostlyinterstellar which were observed for various programs with theUniversity of Wisconsin spectropolarimeter (HPOL) during 1989-1994. Understanding A-type supergiants. I. Ultraviolet and visible spectral atlasThis paper is the first of a series whose aim is to perform a systematicstudy of A-type supergiant atmospheres and winds. Here we present aspectral atlas of 41 A-supergiants observed by us in high and mediumresolution in the visible and ultraviolet. The atlas consists ofprofiles of the Hα , Hβ , Hγ , Hdelta , Hepsilon , CaII (H and K), Na I (D1 and D2), Mg II4481, Mg II [uv1] and FeII [uv1, uv2, uv3, uv62, uv63, uv161] lines for 41 stars with spectraltypes ranging from B9 to A9 and luminosity classes Ia, Iab and Ib, andprovides the basic data for a thoughtful study of these stars. Theoverall characteristics of the sample as well as the data reductionprocedures are described. We also present some examples of spectralvariability. Figures 1-3 are only available in electronic form at thehttp://www.edpsciences.com} of A-type supergiants\fnmsep\thanks{Based onobservations made with the INT and JKT telescopes operated on the islandof La Palma by the RGO in the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de LosMuchachos of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, with the 2.2~mtelescope at Calar Alto Observatory, Spain, with the Bernard Lyot 2~mtelescope at Pic Du Midi Observatory, France and observations collectedat the European Southern Observatory at La Silla, Chile. Catalogue of H-alpha emission stars in the Northern Milky WayThe Catalogue of Stars in the Northern Milky Way Having H-alpha inEmission" appears in Abhandlungen aus der Hamburger Sternwarte, Band XIin the year 1997. It contains 4174 stars, range {32degr <= l() II< 214degr , -10degr < b() II < +10degr } having the Hαline in emission. HBH stars and stars of further 99 lists taken from theliterature till the end of 1994 were included in the catalogue. We givethe cross-identification of stars from all lists used. The catalogue isalso available in the Centre de Données, Strasbourg ftp130.79.128.5 or http://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr and at the HamburgObservatory via internet. The wind momentum-luminosity relationship of galactic A- and B-supergiantsThe Balmer lines of four A Ia-supergiants (spectral type A0 to A3) andfourteen B Ia and Ib-supergiants (spectral type B0 to B3) in the solarneighbourhood are analyzed by means of NLTE unified model atmospheres todetermine the properties of their stellar winds, in particular theirwind momenta. As in previous work for O-stars (Puls et al. \cite{pul96})a tight relationship between stellar wind momentum and luminosity(WLR'') is found. However, the WLR varies as function of spectraltype. Wind momenta are strongest for O-supergiants, then decrease fromearly B (B0 and B1) to mid B (B1.5 to B3) spectral types and becomestronger again for A-supergiants. The slope of the WLR appears to besteeper for A- and mid B-supergiants than for O-supergiants. Thespectral type dependence is interpreted as an effect of ionizationchanging the effective number and the line strength distributionfunction of spectral lines absorbing photon momentum around the stellarflux maximum. This interpretation needs to be confirmed by theoreticalcalculations for radiation driven winds. The Pistol-Star'' in theGalactic Centre, an extreme mid B-hypergiant recently identified as oneof the most luminous stars (Figer et al. \cite{fig99}) is found tocoincide with the extrapolation of the mid B-supergiant WLR towardshigher luminosities. However, the wind momentum of the Luminous BlueVariable P Cygni, a mid B-supergiant with extremely strong mass-loss, is1.2 dex higher than the WLR of the normal'' supergiants. Thissignificant difference is explained in terms of the well-known stellarwind bi-stability of supergiants very close to the Eddinton-limit inthis particular range of effective temperatures. A-supergiants in M31observed with HIRES at the Keck telescope have wind momenta compatiblewith their galactic counterparts. The potential of the WLR as a new,independent extragalactic distance indicator is discussed. It isconcluded that with ten to twenty objects, photometry with HST andmedium resolution spectroscopy with 8m-telescopes from the grounddistance moduli can be obtained with an accuracy of about 0fm1 out tothe Virgo and Fornax clusters of galaxies. Understanding A-type supergiants. II. Atmospheric parameters and rotational velocities of Galactic A-type supergiantsWe present the second paper of a series whose aim is to perform a globalstudy of Galactic A-supergiants. Very little work has been carried outto determine the stellar parameters of these stars. This is illustratedwith a brief review of some previous works. In this paper we analyze thedetermination of absolute magnitudes, spectral types and atmosphericparameters using the most recent Kurucz LTE blanketed model atmospheresand we discuss the applicability of the calibrations, such as theSchmidt-Kaler's (\cite{Sch-K}) calibration. Rotation is also animportant parameter in A-supergiants but their rotational velocities arepoorly known. We have calculated projected rotational velocities fromthe Fourier analysis of the observed Mg II (4481 Ä) line. Based onobservations made with the INT and JKT telescopes operated on the islandof La Palma by the RGO in the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de LosMuchachos of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, with the 2.2mtelescope at Calar Alto Observatory, Spain, with the Bernard Lyot 2mtelescope at Pic Du Midi Observatory, France and observations collectedat the European Southern Observatory at La Silla, Chile UBV beta Database for Case-Hamburg Northern and Southern Luminous StarsA database of photoelectric UBV beta photometry for stars listed in theCase-Hamburg northern and southern Milky Way luminous stars surveys hasbeen compiled from the original research literature. Consisting of over16,000 observations of some 7300 stars from over 500 sources, thisdatabase constitutes the most complete compilation of such photometryavailable for intrinsically luminous stars around the Galactic plane.Over 5000 stars listed in the Case-Hamburg surveys still lackfundamental photometric data. Measurements of double stars 1993.67 - 1998.13624 Micrometer Measurements of 224 pairs with a 32.5 cm Cassegrain, 719Measurements of 310 double stars with a 360 mm Newtonian are given.Tables 1 to 4 are available in electronic form only at the CDS130.79.128.5 or via http://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/Abstract.html The yellow hypergiantsWe list the main stellar data of known hypergiants and similarlyluminous stars, and then concentrate on a review of the yellowhypergiants. These stars are post-red supergiants evolving alongblueward loops in the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. Their properties,their location in the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram and their occasionalmass ejections are related to a region of atmospheric instability in theH-R diagram, the Yellow Void. The bouncing against the border of theVoid' of three objects: ρ Cas, HR8752 and IRC+10420, is described.The apparent atmospheric instability of yellow hypergiants is related tothe atmospheric pulsations. There are indications that the approach tothe Void is associated with an increased amplitude of the pulsation andwith enhanced mass loss. The observed small-scale motion field is onlyapparently strongly supersonic; the observed large stochastic velocitiesare the quasi-stochastically varying thermal motions in the many hotsheets that occur in the wakes of many small shocks, while the realhydrodynamic velocity component is small and subsonic. This shock-wavefield is also responsible for the observed rate of mass loss and foremission in the wings of Hα . Most yellow hypergiants haveenvelopes containing gas and dust, but a thick extended envelope,presumably dissipating and showing bipolar outflow, is only known aroundIRC+10420. At the interface of the bipolar wind and the interstellarmedium one or more stationary shocks may develop as is observed in thecase of IRC+10420 and suspected with ρ Cas. Beta Pic-like circumstellar disk gas surrounding HR 10 and HD 85905We present high spectral resolution observations of the absorption linesof Ca II and Na I associated with the circumstellar gas disk surroundingthe two A-type shell stars HR 10 and HD85905. Data taken over two four-night periods in January andNovember 1997 reveal substantial changes in the circumstellar absorptionline profiles between successive observations of both stars. Suchvariable features have both blue and red-shifted velocities up to 50 kms(-1) away from the central absorbing component, and are similar tothose routinely observed in the beta Pictoris system. The sporadicpresence of the circumstellar absorption components observed towardsboth HR 10 and HD 85905 may be explained by the infalling evaporatingcomet model developed for the beta Pictoris system by Beust {et al./}(\cite{beust90}). We note that variable circumstellar absorptionfeatures have also been detected in rapidly rotating A-type stars, suchthat they may be suffering irregular mass-loss that could give rise tosimilar circumstellar disks and shells. Optical spectrum of the IR source IRC+10420 in 1992-1996To understand the evolutionary stage of the peculiar supergiantIRC+10420, we have been taking spectra for several years at the 6-mtelescope. The optical spectrum of IRC+10420 in the years from 1992through 1996 points to an increase in the effective temperature: aspectral class A5 instead of the former F8 determined by Humphreys etal. Now it resembles the spectra of late-type B(e) stars. The spectrumcontains both absorptions (mainly of ions) formed in the photosphere,apparently stationary with respect to the center of mass of the star,and emissions, which can be formed in the fossil expanding envelope aswell as partly in its compressing region. Using our spectra and spectraldata obtained by Oudmaijer, we estimate the atmospheric parameters Teff= 8500 K, log g = 1.0, and xi(t) = 12 km/s, and conclude that themetallicity of IRC+10420 is solar: the average value of(V,Cr,Fe)/H-solar = -0.03. A combination of results allows us toconsider IRC+10420 as a massive supergiant evolving to the WR stage. On the Variability of Early A-Type SupergiantsAn examination of the Hipparcos photometry of 26 bright early A-typesupergiants shows that they are all variable. Catalogue of stars in the northern Milky Way having H-alpha in emissionNot Available A catalogue of [Fe/H] determinations: 1996 editionA fifth Edition of the Catalogue of [Fe/H] determinations is presentedherewith. It contains 5946 determinations for 3247 stars, including 751stars in 84 associations, clusters or galaxies. The literature iscomplete up to December 1995. The 700 bibliographical referencescorrespond to [Fe/H] determinations obtained from high resolutionspectroscopic observations and detailed analyses, most of them carriedout with the help of model-atmospheres. The Catalogue is made up ofthree formatted files: File 1: field stars, File 2: stars in galacticassociations and clusters, and stars in SMC, LMC, M33, File 3: numberedlist of bibliographical references The three files are only available inelectronic form at the Centre de Donnees Stellaires in Strasbourg, viaanonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (130.79.128.5), or viahttp://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/Abstract.html
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