Flags in the SSPP

Because it is important that the SSPP identify situations where the quoted atmospheric parameters or the measured radial velocities may be in doubt, or simply to make the user aware of possible anomalies that might apply to a given star, the SSPP raises a number of flags that serve this purpose. There are two categories of flags. The first one identifies reasons why the reported stellar parameters and radial velocities may not be OK and the second one identifies reasons why a spectrum may need visual inspection.

Flags for Checking Stellar Parameters and Radial Velocities

The SSPP can raise either critical flags and cautionary flags. When a critical flag is raised, the SSPP is set to either ignore the determinations of atmospheric parameters for a given star or forced (in the case of the color flag) to take steps that differ from normal processing in an attempt to rescue this information. Obviously, even when information is salvaged, the presence of a critical flag means the user must be aware that special steps have been taken, and the reported parameters must be viewed with this information in mind. The second category of flags are the cautionary flags, which are provided for user consideration, but are not necessarily cause for concern. Indeed, sometimes these flags are raised because of a peculiarity in the spectrum that is relatively harmless, and which will not unduly influence determination of atmospheric parameters.

The flags are combined into a single set of five letters, the meanings of which are summarized in the following table. The nominal condition for the five letter flag combination is `nnnnn’, which indicates that the SSPP is satisfied that a given stellar spectrum (and its reported g-r colors and S/N) has passed all of the tests that have been performed, and the stellar parameters should be considered well determined.

Position Flag Description Category Parameters
First n Appears normal …… Yes
D Likely white dwarf Critical No
d Likely sdO or sdB Critical No
H Hot star with Teff > 10000 K Critical No
h Helium line detected, possibly very hot star Critical No
l Likely late type solar abundance star Cautionary Yes
E Emission lines in spectrum Critical No
S Sky spectrum Critical No
V No radial velocity information Critical No
N Very noisy spectrum Cautionary Yes
Second n Appears normal …… Yes
C The photometric g-r color may be incorrect Cautionary Yes
Third n Appears normal …… Yes
B Unexpected Hα strength predicted from Hδ Cautionary Yes
b If d or D flag is not raised among stars with B flag ….. Yes
Fourth n Appears normal …… Yes
G Strong G-band feature Cautionary Yes
g Mild G-band feature Cautionary Yes
Fifth n Appears normal …… Yes
B Too blue g-r < -0.3 to estimate parameters Critical No
R Too red g-r > 1.3 to estimate parameters Critical No
X No parameters estimate Critical No
c Correlation coefficient < 0.4 Cautionary Yes
T Difference between adopted Teff and IRFM Teff > 500 K Cautionary Yes
P Possible predicted g-r is wrong Cautionary Yes
RV NORV No radial velocity info ….. no
ELRV Radial velocity from ELODIE template ….. Yes
BSRV Radial velocity from spetro1d …… Yes
RVCAL Radial velocity calculated from SSPP …… Yes

Flags for visual inspection

The SSPP also has a flag with information useful when visually inspecting spectra for possible issues, including those indicated by the “Critical” and “Cautionary” flags. Those with no flags raised (“nnnnnn”) can be safely assumed to be OK. The definitions for each flag are as follows.

n Normal
F Fail: No parameters or radial velocity determined
T Temperature difference between Teff(adopted) and IRFM Teff is > 500 K
t Temperature difference between Teff(adopted) and spectroscopic-based Teff > 500 K
M Adopted [Fe/H] and spectroscopic-based [Fe/H] is > 0.3 dex
m Error in adopted [Fe/H] is > 0.3 dex
C low confidence: correlation coefficient < 0.4