PEPSI deep spectra. I. The Sun-as-a-star

Context. Full-disk solar flux spectra can be directly compared to stellar spectra and thereby serve as our most important reference source for, for example stellar chemical abundances, magnetic activity phenomena, radial-velocity signatures or global pulsations. Aim. As part of the first Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) key-science project, we aim to provide well-exposed and average-combined (viz. deep) high-resolution spectra of representative stellar targets. Such deep spectra contain an overwhelming amount of information, typically much more than what could be analyzed and discussed within a single publication. Therefore, these spectra will be made available in form of (electronic) atlases. The first star in this series of papers is our Sun. It also acts as a system-performance cornerstone.
Methods: The Sun was monitored with PEPSI at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT). Instead of the LBT we used a small robotic solar disk integration (SDI) telescope. The deep spectra in this paper are the results of combining up to ≈100 consecutive exposures per wavelength setting and are compared with other solar flux atlases.
Results: Our software for the optimal data extraction and reduction of PEPSI spectra is described and verified with the solar data. Three deep solar flux spectra with a spectral resolution of up to 270 000, a continuous wavelength coverage from 383 nm to 914 nm, and a photon signal to noise ratio (S/N) of between 2000-8000:1 depending on wavelength are presented. Additionally, a time-series of 996 high-cadence spectra in one cross disperser is used to search for intrinsic solar modulations. The wavelength calibration based on Th-Ar exposures and simultaneous Fabry-Pérot combs enables an absolute wavelength solution within 10 m s-1 (rms) with respect to the HARPS laser-comb solar atlas and a relative rms of 1.2 m s-1 for one day. For science demonstration, we redetermined the disk-average solar Li abundance to 1.09 ± 0.04 dex on the basis of 3D NLTE model atmospheres. We detected disk-averaged p-mode RV oscillations with a full amplitude of 47 cm s-1 at 5.5 min.
Conclusions: Comparisons with two solar FTS atlases, as well as with the HARPS solar atlas, validate the PEPSI data product. Now, PEPSI/SDI solar-flux spectra are being taken with a sampling of one deep spectrum per day, and are supposed to continue a full magnetic cycle of the Sun.

Read more:  Strassmeier, Ilyin, Steffen, 2018, A&A, 612A, 44