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Spectroscopic analyses of six suspected chemically peculiar stars
The abundance pattern of six stars classified as suspected chemicallypeculiar in the General Catalogue of Ap and Am stars by Renson has beenderived to ascertain the real nature of these objects. Spectroscopicobservations in the range λλ4800-5600 Å have beencarried out at the stellar station of the INAF - Catania AstrophysicalObservatory.Among the studied stars, for only three of them we confirmed theirpeculiarity, HD155102 being a silicon star, HD159082 a mercury-manganesestar and HD162132 a moderate metallic A-type star.The other three objects have chemical abundances not so different fromthe standard values derived in the literature for A-type stars and,furthermore, they do not show light variability. Hence, we suggest thatthey could be ruled out from Renson's catalogue.

Precise radial velocities with BOES. Detection of low-amplitude pulsations in the K-giant α Arietis
We present the first results from a high-precision radial velocity studyof the K2 III giant star α Ari. Observationswere acquired over 6 nights in 2004 using the new high-resolutionspectrograph BOES (Bohyunsan Observatory Echelle Spectrograph) of the1.8-m telescope. A high radial-velocity precision was achieved by usingthe high-resolution (R=90 000) mode of BOES and an iodine gas absorptioncell. The radial velocity measurements made during JD = 2 452 948{-}2452 950 show coherent, low-amplitude variations with a period ofP1=0.571 days (or aliases at 0.445 or 0.821 days), and anamplitude of 18.9 m s-1. Observations of τ Cet over thissame interval are constant to within 3 m s-1. Aftersubtracting the contribution of the 0.57-day period, we find evidencefor a second period, P2 = 0.190 days. Observations made on asecond run during JD = 2 452 975{-}2 452 981 show that the radialvelocity variations are indeed present, but on shorter time-scales andwith a lower amplitude. Two probable periods fit the radial velocitymeasurements from the second run reasonably well: 0.185 days or an aliasof 0.256 days. The shorter period coincides with the secondary one foundin the earlier measurements. We conclude that, similar to other K-giantpulsating stars, α Ari shows unstable acousticpulsations or mode switching on time scales of tens of days. Thecalculated pulsation constants for the dominant 0.571-day period isconsistent with third-overtone pulsations, while the secondaryperiodicity found in both data runs corresponds to a high overtone(n≥ 12).

Shapes of Spectral Line Bisectors for Cool Stars
The shape of the line bisector for the prototype spectral line Fe Iλ6253 was measured for an array of 54 stars on the cool half ofthe HR diagram. These bisectors are given in tables along with theirerrors. The classic C shape is shown by only a rather restricted rangein effective temperature and luminosity. The detailed change in bisectorshape with effective temperature and luminosity is documented moreprecisely than in previous work. The most blueward point on the bisectorchanges its height systematically with luminosity and can be used as aluminosity or gravity discriminant. The wide range of bisector shapescontains significant information about the velocity fields in theatmospheres of these stars, but extracting that information may requireextensive modeling.

Atlas and Catalog of Dark Clouds Based on Digitized Sky Survey I
We present a quantitative atlas and catalog of dark clouds derived byusing the optical database ``Digitized Sky Survey I''. Applying atraditional star-count technique to 1043 plates contained in thedatabase, we produced an AV map covering the entire region inthe galactic latitude range |b| ≤ 40°. The map was drawn at twodifferent angular resolutions of 6' and 18', and is shown in detail in aseries of figures in this paper. Based on the AV map, weidentified 2448 dark clouds and 2841 clumps located inside them. Somephysical parameters, such as the position, extent, and opticalextinction, were measured for each of the clouds and clumps. We alsosearched for counterparts among already known dark clouds in theliterature. The catalog of dark clouds presented in this paper lists thecloud parameters as well as the counterparts.

Observations of Stellar Maser Sources with No IRAS Counterpart
We investigated stellar maser sources with no IRAS counterpart at theradio, middle-infrared, and near-infrared wavelengths. A 43GHz SiO masersearch for 120 2MASS/MSX objects, and 10 OH 1612MHz sources with no or avery faint MSX counterpart, resulted in 43 SiO detections: one OH1612MHz source, 2 near-infrared stars, and 40 MSX sources. Additionalnear-infrared J-, H-, and K-band observations of the OH 1612MHz sourcesdetected 5 near-infrared counterparts. Furthermore, middle-infraredimaging observations at 8.8, 9.7, 12.4, and 24.5μm with the Subaru8.2-m telescope found counterparts for 2 near-infrared stars with SiOmasers, and counterparts for 6 OH 1612MHz sources. However, 4 OH 1612MHzsources were not detected in the sensitive near- and middle-infraredsearches; three of these are relatively strong OH maser sources forwhich the positions were known accurately. We conclude that one of these(OH 028.286i‑01.801) must be a young object in a star-formingregion.

Can Life Develop in the Expanded Habitable Zones around Red Giant Stars?
We present some new ideas about the possibility of life developingaround subgiant and red giant stars. Our study concerns the temporalevolution of the habitable zone. The distance between the star and thehabitable zone, as well as its width, increases with time as aconsequence of stellar evolution. The habitable zone moves outward afterthe star leaves the main sequence, sweeping a wider range of distancesfrom the star until the star reaches the tip of the asymptotic giantbranch. Currently there is no clear evidence as to when life actuallyformed on the Earth, but recent isotopic data suggest life existed atleast as early as 7×108 yr after the Earth was formed.Thus, if life could form and evolve over time intervals from5×108 to 109 yr, then there could behabitable planets with life around red giant stars. For a 1Msolar star at the first stages of its post-main-sequenceevolution, the temporal transit of the habitable zone is estimated to beseveral times 109 yr at 2 AU and around 108 yr at9 AU. Under these circumstances life could develop at distances in therange 2-9 AU in the environment of subgiant or giant stars, and in thefar distant future in the environment of our own solar system. After astar completes its first ascent along the red giant branch and the Heflash takes place, there is an additional stable period of quiescent Hecore burning during which there is another opportunity for life todevelop. For a 1 Msolar star there is an additional109 yr with a stable habitable zone in the region from 7 to22 AU. Space astronomy missions, such as proposed for the TerrestrialPlanet Finder (TPF) and Darwin, that focus on searches for signatures oflife on extrasolar planets, should also consider the environments ofsubgiants and red giant stars as potentially interesting sites forunderstanding the development of life. We performed a preliminaryevaluation of the difficulty of interferometric observations of planetsaround red giant stars compared to a main-sequence star environment. Weshow that pathfinder missions for TPF and Darwin, such as Eclipse andFKSI, have sufficient angular resolution and sensitivity to search forhabitable planets around some of the closest evolved stars of thesubgiant and red giant class.

First results from the ESO VLTI calibrators program
The ESO Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) is one of the leadinginterferometric facilities. It is equipped with several 8.2 and 1.8 mtelescopes, a large number of baselines up to 200 m, and with severalsubsystems designed to enable high quality measurements and to improvesignificantly the limits of sensitivities currently available tolong-baseline interferometry. The full scientific potential of the VLTIcan be exploited only if a consistent set of good quality calibrators isavailable. For this, a large number of observations of potentialcalibrators have been obtained during the commissioning phase of theVLTI. These data are publicly available. We briefly describe theinterferometer, the VINCI instrument used for the observations, the dataflow from acquisition to processed results, and we present and commenton the volume of observations gathered and scrutinized. The result is alist of 191 calibrator candidates, for which a total of 12 066observations can be deemed of satisfactory quality. We present a generalstatistical analysis of this sample, using as a starting point theangular diameters previously available in the literature. We derive thegeneral characteristics of the VLTI transfer function, and its trendwith time in the period 2001 through mid-2004. A second paper will bedevoted to a detailed investigation of a selected sample, aimed atestablishing a VLTI-based homogeneous system of calibrators.

CHARM2: An updated Catalog of High Angular Resolution Measurements
We present an update of the Catalog of High Angular ResolutionMeasurements (CHARM, Richichi & Percheron \cite{CHARM}, A&A,386, 492), which includes results available until July 2004. CHARM2 is acompilation of direct measurements by high angular resolution methods,as well as indirect estimates of stellar diameters. Its main goal is toprovide a reference list of sources which can be used for calibrationand verification observations with long-baseline optical and near-IRinterferometers. Single and binary stars are included, as are complexobjects from circumstellar shells to extragalactic sources. The presentupdate provides an increase of almost a factor of two over the previousedition. Additionally, it includes several corrections and improvements,as well as a cross-check with the valuable public release observationsof the ESO Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI). A total of 8231entries for 3238 unique sources are now present in CHARM2. Thisrepresents an increase of a factor of 3.4 and 2.0, respectively, overthe contents of the previous version of CHARM.The catalog is only available in electronic form at the CDS viaanonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr ( or via http://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/431/773

Local kinematics of K and M giants from CORAVEL/Hipparcos/Tycho-2 data. Revisiting the concept of superclusters
The availability of the Hipparcos Catalogue has triggered many kinematicand dynamical studies of the solar neighbourhood. Nevertheless, thosestudies generally lacked the third component of the space velocities,i.e., the radial velocities. This work presents the kinematic analysisof 5952 K and 739 M giants in the solar neighbourhood which includes forthe first time radial velocity data from a large survey performed withthe CORAVEL spectrovelocimeter. It also uses proper motions from theTycho-2 catalogue, which are expected to be more accurate than theHipparcos ones. An important by-product of this study is the observedfraction of only 5.7% of spectroscopic binaries among M giants ascompared to 13.7% for K giants. After excluding the binaries for whichno center-of-mass velocity could be estimated, 5311 K and 719 M giantsremain in the final sample. The UV-plane constructed from these datafor the stars with precise parallaxes (σπ/π≤20%) reveals a rich small-scale structure, with several clumpscorresponding to the Hercules stream, the Sirius moving group, and theHyades and Pleiades superclusters. A maximum-likelihood method, based ona Bayesian approach, has been applied to the data, in order to make fulluse of all the available stars (not only those with precise parallaxes)and to derive the kinematic properties of these subgroups. Isochrones inthe Hertzsprung-Russell diagram reveal a very wide range of ages forstars belonging to these groups. These groups are most probably relatedto the dynamical perturbation by transient spiral waves (as recentlymodelled by De Simone et al. \cite{Simone2004}) rather than to clusterremnants. A possible explanation for the presence of younggroup/clusters in the same area of the UV-plane is that they have beenput there by the spiral wave associated with their formation, while thekinematics of the older stars of our sample has also been disturbed bythe same wave. The emerging picture is thus one of dynamical streamspervading the solar neighbourhood and travelling in the Galaxy withsimilar space velocities. The term dynamical stream is more appropriatethan the traditional term supercluster since it involves stars ofdifferent ages, not born at the same place nor at the same time. Theposition of those streams in the UV-plane is responsible for the vertexdeviation of 16.2o ± 5.6o for the wholesample. Our study suggests that the vertex deviation for youngerpopulations could have the same dynamical origin. The underlyingvelocity ellipsoid, extracted by the maximum-likelihood method afterremoval of the streams, is not centered on the value commonly acceptedfor the radial antisolar motion: it is centered on < U > =-2.78±1.07 km s-1. However, the full data set(including the various streams) does yield the usual value for theradial solar motion, when properly accounting for the biases inherent tothis kind of analysis (namely, < U > = -10.25±0.15 kms-1). This discrepancy clearly raises the essential questionof how to derive the solar motion in the presence of dynamicalperturbations altering the kinematics of the solar neighbourhood: doesthere exist in the solar neighbourhood a subset of stars having no netradial motion which can be used as a reference against which to measurethe solar motion?Based on observations performed at the Swiss 1m-telescope at OHP,France, and on data from the ESA Hipparcos astrometry satellite.Full Table \ref{taba1} is only available in electronic form at the CDSvia anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr ( or viahttp://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/430/165}

The Indo-US Library of Coudé Feed Stellar Spectra
We 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.

Synthetic Lick Indices and Detection of α-enhanced Stars. II. F, G, and K Stars in the -1.0 < [Fe/H] < +0.50 Range
We present an analysis of 402 F, G, and K solar neighborhood stars, withaccurate estimates of [Fe/H] in the range -1.0 to +0.5 dex, aimed at thedetection of α-enhanced stars and at the investigation of theirkinematical properties. The analysis is based on the comparison of 571sets of spectral indices in the Lick/IDS system, coming from fourdifferent observational data sets, with synthetic indices computed withsolar-scaled abundances and with α-element enhancement. We useselected combinations of indices to single out α-enhanced starswithout requiring previous knowledge of their main atmosphericparameters. By applying this approach to the total data set, we obtain alist of 60 bona fide α-enhanced stars and of 146 stars withsolar-scaled abundances. The properties of the detected α-enhancedand solar-scaled abundance stars with respect to their [Fe/H] values andkinematics are presented. A clear kinematic distinction betweensolar-scaled and α-enhanced stars was found, although a one-to-onecorrespondence to ``thin disk'' and ``thick disk'' components cannot besupported with the present data.

Empirically Constrained Color-Temperature Relations. II. uvby
A new grid of theoretical color indices for the Strömgren uvbyphotometric system has been derived from MARCS model atmospheres and SSGsynthetic spectra for cool dwarf and giant stars having-3.0<=[Fe/H]<=+0.5 and 3000<=Teff<=8000 K. Atwarmer temperatures (i.e., 8000-2.0. To overcome thisproblem, the theoretical indices at intermediate and high metallicitieshave been corrected using a set of color calibrations based on fieldstars having well-determined distances from Hipparcos, accurateTeff estimates from the infrared flux method, andspectroscopic [Fe/H] values. In contrast with Paper I, star clustersplayed only a minor role in this analysis in that they provided asupplementary constraint on the color corrections for cool dwarf starswith Teff<=5500 K. They were mainly used to test thecolor-Teff relations and, encouragingly, isochrones thatemploy the transformations derived in this study are able to reproducethe observed CMDs (involving u-v, v-b, and b-y colors) for a number ofopen and globular clusters (including M67, the Hyades, and 47 Tuc)rather well. Moreover, our interpretations of such data are verysimilar, if not identical, with those given in Paper I from aconsideration of BV(RI)C observations for the sameclusters-which provides a compelling argument in support of thecolor-Teff relations that are reported in both studies. Inthe present investigation, we have also analyzed the observedStrömgren photometry for the classic Population II subdwarfs,compared our ``final'' (b-y)-Teff relationship with thosederived empirically in a number of recent studies and examined in somedetail the dependence of the m1 index on [Fe/H].Based, in part, on observations made with the Nordic Optical Telescope,operated jointly on the island of La Palma by Denmark, Finland, Iceland,Norway, and Sweden, in the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de losMuchachos of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias.Based, in part, on observations obtained with the Danish 1.54 mtelescope at the European Southern Observatory, La Silla, Chile.

Onset of Mass Loss in Red Giants: Association with an Evolutionary Event
Stencel & Mullan used asymmetries in the Mg II k emission lineprofile to determine the location of a ``velocity dividing line'' (VDL)in the H-R diagram. Stars to the right of (and above) the VDL wereobserved to have asymmetries that are consistent with the presence ofcool massive winds. Stars to the left of (and below) the VDL showed noevidence for winds. We show that the VDL lies close to a certain eventof stellar evolution on the red giant branch (RGB). The event occurswhen the hydrogen-burning shell evolves outward through a discontinuityin molecular weight. In some low-mass stars, this event causes a kink inthe evolutionary track of an individual low-mass star. In a cluster, thecombined effects of such kinks create a ``bump'' in the luminosityfunction. Our result suggests that evolution through the kink (or bump)on the RGB is associated with the onset of a cool massive wind.Theoretical possibilities to explain this association will be exploredin a subsequent paper.

Contributions to the Nearby Stars (NStars) Project: Spectroscopy of Stars Earlier than M0 within 40 Parsecs: The Northern Sample. I.
We have embarked on a project, under the aegis of the Nearby Stars(NStars)/Space Interferometry Mission Preparatory Science Program, toobtain spectra, spectral types, and, where feasible, basic physicalparameters for the 3600 dwarf and giant stars earlier than M0 within 40pc of the Sun. In this paper, we report on the results of this projectfor the first 664 stars in the northern hemisphere. These resultsinclude precise, homogeneous spectral types, basic physical parameters(including the effective temperature, surface gravity, and overallmetallicity [M/H]), and measures of the chromospheric activity of ourprogram stars. Observed and derived data presented in this paper arealso available on the project's Web site.

Variable Yellow and Red Stragglers in the Old Open Cluster NGC 6791
Two sets of archive time series observations of an old open cluster NGC6791 were reanalyzed using an image subtraction technique. We reportidentification of four new variable stars. Proper motion data areavailable for three of them and indicate that they are likely clustermembers. Photometry of these stars is discussed along with the data fortwo earlier identified variables. The sample analyzed includes oneyellow and three red stragglers. An eclipsing red straggler V9 is ofparticular interest. Cluster membership of this RS Cvn type binary wouldimply that its cooler component is in a stage of thermal inequilibrium.One of variables is a K type red giant showing low-amplitude variabilitywith a period of about 0.33d.

Rotational modulation of the photospheric and chromospheric activity in the young, single K2-dwarf PW And
High resolution echelle spectra of PW And (HD 1405) have been takenduring eight observing runs from 1999 to 2002. The detailed analysis ofthe spectra allow us to determine its spectral type (K2V), meanheliocentric radial velocity (Vhel = -11.15 kms-1) rotational velocity (vsin i = 22.6 km s-1),and equivalent width of the lithium line lambda 6707.8 Å (EW(LiI) = 273 mÅ). The kinematic (Galactic Velocity (U,V,W)) confirmsits membership in the Local Association moving group, in agreement withthe age (30 to 80 Myrs) inferred from the color magnitude diagram andthe lithium equivalent width. Photospheric activity (presence of coolspots that disturb the profiles of the photospheric lines) has beendetected as changes in the bisectors of the cross correlation function(CCF) resulting of cross-correlate the spectra of PW And with thespectrum of a non-active star of similar spectral type. These variationsof the CCF bisectors are related to the variations in the measuredradial velocities and are modulated with a period similar to thephotometric period of the star. At the same time, chromospheric activityhas been analyzed, using the spectral subtraction technique andsimultaneous spectroscopic observations of the Hα , Hβ , Na ID1 and D2, He I D3, Mg I b triplet, CaII H&K, and Ca II infrared triplet lines. A flare was observedduring the last observing run of 2001, showing an enhancement in theobserved chromospheric lines. A less powerful flare was observed on 2002August 23. The variations of the chromospheric activity indicators seemto be related to the photospheric activity. A correlation between radialvelocity, changes in the CCF bisectors and equivalent width of differentchromospheric lines is observed with a different behaviour betweenepochs 1999, 2001 and 2002.Based on observations made with the 2.2 m telescope of theGerman-Spanish Astronomical Centre, Calar Alto (Almería, Spain),operated by the Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg, jointlywith the Spanish National Commission for Astronomy, with the NordicOptical Telescope (NOT), operated on the island of La Palma jointly byDenmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, in the SpanishObservatorio del Roque de Los Muchachos of the Instituto deAstrofísica de Canarias, with the Isaac Newton Telescope (INT)operated on the island of La Palma by the Isaac Newton Group in theSpanish Observatorio del Roque de Los Muchachos of the Instituto deAstrofísica de Canarias, with the Italian Telescopio NazionaleGalileo (TNG) operated on the island of La Palma by the Centro GalileoGalilei of the INAF (Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica) at the SpanishObservatorio del Roque de Los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofisicade Canarias and with the Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) operated byMcDonald Observatory on behalf of The University of Texas at Austin, thePennsylvania State University, Stanford University,Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, andGeorg-August-Universität Göttingen.Tables 1, 3, 4 and Figs. 4, 7, 8, 14, 16, 18, 19, 21 are only availablein electronic form at http://www.edpsciences.org

Catalogue of averaged stellar effective magnetic fields. I. Chemically peculiar A and B type stars
This 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 ( 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

The Wilson-Bappu effect: A tool to determine stellar distances
Wilson & Bappu (\cite{orig}) have shown the existence of aremarkable correlation between the width of the emission in the core ofthe K line of Ca II and the absolute visual magnitude of late-typestars.Here we present a new calibration of the Wilson-Bappu effect based on asample of 119 nearby stars. We use, for the first time, widthmeasurements based on high resolution and high signal to noise ratio CCDspectra and absolute visual magnitudes from the Hipparcos database.Our primary goal is to investigate the possibility of using theWilson-Bappu effect to determine accurate distances to single stars andgroups.The result of our calibration fitting of the Wilson-Bappu relationshipis MV=33.2-18.0 log W0, and the determinationseems free of systematic effects. The root mean square error of thefitting is 0.6 mag. This error is mostly accounted for by measurementerrors and intrinsic variability of W0, but in addition apossible dependence on the metallicity is found, which becomes clearlynoticeable for metallicities below [Fe/H] ~ -0.4. This detection ispossible because in our sample [Fe/H] ranges from -1.5 to 0.4.The Wilson-Bappu effect can be used confidently for all metallicitiesnot lower than ~ -0.4, including the LMC. While it does not provideaccurate distances to single stars, it is a useful tool to determineaccurate distances to clusters and aggregates, where a sufficient numberof stars can be observed.We apply the Wilson-Bappu effect to published data of the open cluster M67; the retrieved distance modulus is of 9.65 mag, in very goodagreement with the best distance estimations for this cluster, based onmain sequence fitting.Observations collected at ESO, La Silla.

Precise radial velocity measurements of G and K giants. First results
We present the first results of our precise radial velocity (RV)measurements of G and K giants. A number of stars from our list of 80targets have been observed for 14 months using the fibre-fed echellespectrograph FEROS at the 1.52 m ESO telescope in La Silla, Chile. Thissample increases the number of giants surveyed with precise stellarradial velocity measurements at least by a factor of 10. During thisperiod we are able to estimate the long-term accuracy of our measurementas better than 11 m s-1. We use the simultaneous Th-Arcalibration and cross-correlation technique to compute the radialvelocity by applying a numerical template for K-type stars. Standarddeviation sigma of mean radial velocity variations between 3 ms-1 and 4 km s-1 with timescales between severaldays and years are measured for 21 of G and K giants which are presentedin this paper. Fifteen stars show definite variability above 3 sigma ofour measurement uncertainties. Two stars with RV variations above 800 ms-1 are tentatively identified as new binaries. Althoughdefinitive trends between RV variations and stellar evolutionary statuscannot yet be established, all the luminous cool giants of our sampleseem to have significant radial velocity variations, while those starsin the giant's clump region can be either variable or constant.Based on observations collected at the ESO 1.52 m telescope at the LaSilla Observatory under program ESO No. 64.L-0047, 65.L-0571, 66.D-0592and from Nov. 99 to Feb. 01 under the ESO-Observatório Nacional,Brazil, agreement.}

Line Absorption as a Metallicity Index for Giant Stars
The fraction of light removed from a star's spectrum by the spectrallines, the line absorption, is shown to be a precise empirical indicatorof metallicity. We measured the line absorption in 89 class III giantstars in a 42.5 Å window between 6219.0 and 6261.5 Å andthen calibrated these values against published metallicities. We showthat the line absorption can be measured precisely enough to improve themetallicity precision about fivefold over the original calibrationmetallicities, reaching a precision of 0.01 dex in favorable cases.

On the Abundance of Potassium in Metal-Poor Stars
Based on extensive statistical-equilibrium calculations, we performed anon-LTE analysis of the K I 7699 equivalent-width data ofmetal-deficient stars for the purpose of clarifying the behavior of thephotospheric potassium abundance in disk/halo stars. While the resultingnon-LTE abundance corrections turned out to be considerably large,amounting to 0.2-0.7dex, their effect on the [K/Fe] vs. [Fe/H] relationis not very important, since these corrections do not show anysignificant dependence on the metallicity. Hence, we again confirmed theresults of previous LTE studies, that [K/Fe] shows a gradual systematicincrease toward a lowered metallicity up to [K/Fe] ~ 0.3 - 0.5 at[Fe/H]} ~ -1 to -2, such as in the case of αelements.

Observations of Mira stars with the IOTA/FLUOR interferometer and comparison with Mira star models
We present K/'-band observations of five Mira stars with the IOTAinterferometer. The interferograms were obtained with the FLUOR fiberoptics beam combiner, which provides high-accuracy visibilitymeasurements in spite of time-variable atmospheric conditions. For theM-type Miras X Oph, R Aql, RU Her, R Ser, and the C-type Mira V CrB wederived the uniform-disk diameters 11.7 mas, 10.9 mas, 8.4 mas, 8.1 mas,and 7.9 mas (/+/-0.3 mas), respectively. Simultaneous photometricobservations yielded the bolometric fluxes. The derived angularRosseland radii and the bolometric fluxes allowed the determination ofeffective temperatures. For instance, the effective temperature of R Aqlwas determined to be 2970/+/-110 K. A linear Rosseland radius for R Aqlof 250+100-60Rsolar was derived fromthe angular Rosseland radius of 5.5+/-0.2mas and the HIPPARCOS parallaxof 4.73+/-1.19mas. The observations were compared with theoretical Mirastar models of Bessel et al. [A&A 307 (1996) 481] and Hofmann et al.[A&A 339 (1998) 846]. The effective temperatures of the M-type Mirasand the linear radius of R Aql indicate fundamental mode pulsation.

JHK Standards for Small Telescopes
The AAVSO Futures meeting, held in Madison, WI, in May 2001, proposedthat the AAVSO support near-infrared research with small telescopes. Aphotometer, the SSP-4, has been developed to provide J- and H-bandcapability for a reasonable cost. However, proper calibrated photometryrequires a set of standard stars. This paper describes such a set ofstars, suitable for small telescopes, and with accurate coordinates,proper motions, and high-quality magnitudes.

First light observations with TIFR near-infrared camera.
The TIFR near-infrared camera (TIRCAM) is based on the SBRC InSb focalplane array (58×62 pixels) sensitive between 1-5 μm. TIRCAM hadits first engineering run at Gurusikhar 1.2 meter PRL telescope at MountAbu during March-April 2001. The first light observations with TIRCAMwere quite successful. Several infrared standard stars and the TrapeziumCluster in Orion region were observed in the J, H and K bands. In anarrow band at 3.9 μm (nbL), some bright stars could be detected fromthe Gurusikhar site. The performance of TIRCAM is discussed in the lightof preliminary observations in nbL band.

Velocity variability of semiregular and irregular variables
We compare velocities from near infrared lines with center-of-massvelocities for a sample of semiregular and irregular variables to searchfor indications for a convective blueshift. It is shown that a generalblueshift is present but that the light variability is obviously notdominated by convective cells but rather by stellar pulsation. All starsof our sample show a similar shape and amplitude in the velocityvariations. Long secondary periods are a common feature in these objectsand strongly influence the measured velocity shifts. The star V366 Aqlis found to be the first SRV showing line doubling.

A catalogue of calibrator stars for long baseline stellar interferometry
Long baseline stellar interferometry shares with other techniques theneed for calibrator stars in order to correct for instrumental andatmospheric effects. We present a catalogue of 374 stars carefullyselected to be used for that purpose in the near infrared. Owing toseveral convergent criteria with the work of Cohen et al.(\cite{cohen99}), this catalogue is in essence a subset of theirself-consistent all-sky network of spectro-photometric calibrator stars.For every star, we provide the angular limb-darkened diameter, uniformdisc angular diameters in the J, H and K bands, the Johnson photometryand other useful parameters. Most stars are type III giants withspectral types K or M0, magnitudes V=3-7 and K=0-3. Their angularlimb-darkened diameters range from 1 to 3 mas with a median uncertaintyas low as 1.2%. The median distance from a given point on the sky to theclosest reference is 5.2degr , whereas this distance never exceeds16.4degr for any celestial location. The catalogue is only available inelectronic form at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr( or viahttp://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/393/183

CHARM: A Catalog of High Angular Resolution Measurements
The Catalog of High Angular Resolution Measurements (CHARM) includesmost of the measurements obtained by the techniques of lunaroccultations and long-baseline interferometry at visual and infraredwavelengths, which have appeared in the literature or have otherwisebeen made public until mid-2001. A total of 2432 measurements of 1625sources are included, along with extensive auxiliary information. Inparticular, visual and infrared photometry is included for almost allthe sources. This has been partly extracted from currently availablecatalogs, and partly obtained specifically for CHARM. The main aim is toprovide a compilation of sources which could be used as calibrators orfor science verification purposes by the new generation of largeground-based facilities such as the ESO Very Large Interferometer andthe Keck Interferometer. The Catalog is available in electronic form atthe CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr ( or viahttp://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/386/492, and from theauthors on CD-Rom.

Lick Spectral Indices for Super-Metal-rich Stars
We present Lick spectral indices for a complete sample of 139 candidatesuper-metal-rich stars of different luminosity classes (MK type from Ito V). For 91 of these stars we were able to identify, in anaccompanying paper, the fundamental atmosphere parameters. This confirmsthat at least 2/3 of the sample consists of stars with [Fe/H] in excessof +0.1 dex. Optical indices for both observations and fiducialsynthetic spectra have been calibrated to the Lick system according toWorthey et al. and include the Fe I indices of Fe5015, Fe5270, andFe5335 and the Mg I and MgH indices of Mg2 and Mg b at 5180Å. The internal accuracy of the observations is found to beσ(Fe5015)=+/-0.32 Å, σ(Fe5270)=+/-0.19 Å,σ(Fe5335)=+/-0.22 Å, σ(Mg2)=+/-0.004 mag,and σ(Mg b)=+/-0.19 Å. This is about a factor of 2 betterthan the corresponding theoretical indices from the synthetic spectra,the latter being a consequence of the intrinsic limitations in the inputphysics, as discussed by Chavez et al. By comparing models andobservations, we find no evidence for nonstandard Mg versus Fe relativeabundance, so [Mg/Fe]=0, on the average, for our sample. Both theWorthey et al. and Buzzoni et al. fitting functions are found tosuitably match the data and can therefore confidently be extended forpopulation synthesis application also to supersolar metallicity regimes.A somewhat different behavior of the two fitting sets appears, however,beyond the temperature constraints of our stellar sample. Its impact onthe theoretical output is discussed, as far as the integratedMg2 index is derived from synthesis models of stellaraggregates. A two-index plot, such as Mg2 versus Fe5270, isfound to provide a simple and powerful tool for probing distinctiveproperties of single stars and stellar aggregates as a whole. The majoradvantage, over a classical CM diagram, is that it is both reddeningfree and distance independent. Based on observations collected at theInstituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Optica y Electrónica(INAOE) ``G. Haro'' Observatory, Cananea (Mexico).

Line-Depth Ratios: Temperature Indices for Giant Stars
Ratios of the depths of appropriately chosen spectral lines are shown tobe excellent indicators of stellar temperatures for giant stars in theG3 to K3 spectral type range. We calibrate five line-depth ratiosagainst B-V and R-I color indices and then translate these intotemperatures. Our goal is to set up line-depth ratios to (1) accuratelymonitor any temperature variations of a few degrees or less that mayoccur during magnetic cycles or oscillations and (2) rank giantsprecisely on a temperature coordinate. This is not an absolutecalibration of stellar temperatures. We show how giant spectra can bemisleading because of the complex dependences of spectral lines onmetallicity and absolute magnitude as well as temperature, and it isessential to make corrections to accommodate these complications. Thefive line-depth ratios we use yield precision for monitoring, i.e.,detecting temperature variations, of 4 K from a single exposure. Rankinggiants by temperature can be done with errors of ~25 K but could beimproved with better determinations of the metallicity andabsolute-magnitude corrections.

On the Accuracy of GAIA Radial Velocities
We have obtained 782 real spectra and used them as inputs for 6700automatic cross-correlation runs to investigate the GAIA potential interms of radial velocity accuracy. We have explored the dispersions0.25, 0.5, 1 and 2 Å/pix over the 8490--8740 Å GAIA range.We have investigated late-F to early-M stars (constituting the vastmajority of GAIA targets), slowly rotating ( = 4 km/s), of solar metallicity (<[Fe/H]> = --0.07) and notbinary. The results are accurately described by the simple law: {logsigma = 0.6 (log S/N)2 -- 2.4 log S/N + 1.75 log D + 3, wheresigma is the cross-correlation standard error (in km/s) and D is thespectral dispersion (in Å/pix). The spectral dispersion has turnedout to be the dominant factor, with S/N being less important and thespectral mis-match being a weak player at the lowest S/N. Our resultsshow that mission-averaged radial velocities of faint GAIA targets (V ~15 mag) can match the ~ 0.5 km/s accuracy of tangential motions,provided the observations are performed at a dispersion not less than0.5 Å/pix.

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Observation and Astrometry data

Right ascension:17h43m28.40s
Apparent magnitude:2.77
Distance:25.138 parsecs
Proper motion RA:-41.4
Proper motion Dec:157.6
B-T magnitude:4.28
V-T magnitude:2.879

Catalogs and designations:
Proper NamesCelbalrai
Kelb al Rai, Cheleb, Kelb Alrai, Alrai, Cebalrai   (Edit)
Bayerβ Oph
Flamsteed60 Oph
HD 1989HD 161096
TYCHO-2 2000TYC 423-1724-1
USNO-A2.0USNO-A2 0900-10400891
BSC 1991HR 6603
HIPHIP 86742

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