The first rotation periods in Praesepe

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (Impact Factor: 5.11). 08/2007; 381(4). DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2007.12333.x
Source: arXiv


The cluster Praesepe (age 650 Myr) is an ideal laboratory to study stellar evolution. Specifically, it allows us to trace the long-term decline of rotation and activity on the main-sequence. Here we present rotation periods measured for five stars in Praesepe with masses of 0.1-0.5Ms -- the first rotation periods for members of this cluster. Photometric periodicities were found from two extensive monitoring campaigns, and are confirmed by multiple independent test procedures. We attribute these variations to magnetic spots co-rotating with the objects, thus indicating the rotation period. The five periods, ranging from 5 to 84h, show a clear positive correlation with object mass, a trend which has been reported previously in younger clusters. When comparing with data for F-K stars in the coeval Hyades, we find a dramatic drop in the periods at spectral type K8-M2 (corresponding to 0.4-0.6Ms). A comparison with periods of VLM stars in younger clusters provides a constraint on the spin-down timescale: We find that the exponential rotational braking timescale is clearly longer than 200 Myr, most likely 400-800 Myr. These results are not affected by the small sample size in the rotation periods. Both findings, the steep drop in the period-mass relation and the long spin-down timescale, indicate a substantial change in the angular momentum loss mechanism for very low mass objects, possibly the breakdown of the solar-type (Skumanich) rotational braking. While the physical origin for this behaviour is unclear, we argue that parts of it might be explained by the disappearance of the radiative core and the resulting breakdown of an interface-type dynamo in the VLM regime. Rotational studies in this mass range hold great potential to probe magnetic properties and interior structure of main-sequence stars. Comment: 10 pages, 3 figures, accepted for publication in MNRAS

1 Read
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In the course of conducting a deep (14.5 ~< r ~< 23), 20 night survey for transiting planets in the rich ~550 Myr old open cluster M37 we have measured the rotation periods of 575 stars which lie near the cluster main sequence, with masses 0.2 Msun ~< M ~< 1.3 Msun. This is the largest sample of rotation periods for a cluster older than 500 Myr. Using this rich sample we investigate a number of relations between rotation period, color and the amplitude of photometric variability. Stars with M >~ 0.8 Msun show a tight correlation between period and mass with heavier stars rotating more rapidly. There is a group of 4 stars with P > 15 days that fall well above this relation, which, if real, would present a significant challenge to theories of stellar angular momentum evolution. Below 0.8 Msun the stars continue to follow the period-mass correlation but with a broad tail of rapid rotators that expands to shorter periods with decreasing mass. We combine these results with observations of other open clusters to test the standard theory of lower-main sequence stellar angular momentum evolution. We find that the model reproduces the observations for solar mass stars, but discrepancies are apparent for stars with 0.6 ~< M ~< 1.0 Msun. We also find that for late-K through early-M dwarf stars in this cluster rapid rotators tend to be bluer than slow rotators in B-V but redder than slow rotators in V-I_{C}. This result supports the hypothesis that the significant discrepancy between the observed and predicted temperatures and radii of low-mass main sequence stars is due to stellar activity. Comment: Replaced with version accepted to ApJ. 104 pages, 7 tables, 26 figures
    The Astrophysical Journal 03/2008; 691(1). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/691/1/342 · 5.99 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present the results of a photometric survey of rotation rates in the Coma Berenices (Melotte 111) open cluster, using data obtained as part of the SuperWASP exoplanetary transit-search programme. The goal of the Coma survey was to measure precise rotation periods for main-sequence F, G and K dwarfs in this intermediate-age (~600 Myr) cluster, and to determine the extent to which magnetic braking has caused the stellar spin periods to converge. We find a tight, almost linear relationship between rotation period and J-K colour with a root-mean square scatter of only 2 percent. The relation is similar to that seen among F, G and K stars in the Hyades. Such strong convergence can only be explained if angular momentum is not at present being transferred from a reservoir in the deep stellar interiors to the surface layers. We conclude that the coupling timescale for angular momentum transport from a rapidly-spinning radiative core to the outer convective zone must be substantially shorter than the cluster age, and that from the age of Coma onward, stars rotate effectively as solid bodies. The existence of a tight relationship between stellar mass and rotation period at a given age supports the use of stellar rotation period as an age indicator in F, G and K stars of Hyades age and older. We demonstrate that individual stellar ages can be determined within the Coma population with an internal precision of order 9 percent (RMS), using a standard magnetic braking law in which rotation period increases with the square root of stellar age. We find that a slight modification to the magnetic-braking power law, P proportional to t^0.56, yields rotational and asteroseismological ages in good agreement for the Sun and other stars of solar age for which p-mode studies and photometric rotation periods have been published. Comment: 14 pages, 10 figures, accepted for publication in MNRAS
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 08/2009; 400(1). DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2009.15476.x · 5.11 Impact Factor
  • Article: Starspots
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Starspots are created by local magnetic fields on the surfaces of stars, just as sunspots. Their fields are strong enough to suppress the overturning convective motion and thus block or redirect the flow of energy from the stellar interior outwards to the surface and consequently appear as locally cool and therefore dark regions against an otherwise bright photosphere (Biermann in Astronomische Nachrichten 264:361, 1938; Z Astrophysik 25:135, 1948). As such, starspots are observable tracers of the yet unknown internal dynamo activity and allow a glimpse into the complex internal stellar magnetic field structure. Starspots also enable the precise measurement of stellar rotation which is among the key ingredients for the expected internal magnetic topology. But whether starspots are just blown-up sunspot analogs, we do not know yet. This article is an attempt to review our current knowledge of starspots. A comparison of a white-light image of the Sun (G2V, 5Gyr) with a Doppler image of a young solar-like star (EK Draconis; G1.5V, age 100Myr, rotation 10× Ω Sun) and with a mean-field dynamo simulation suggests that starspots can be of significantly different appearance and cannot be explained with a scaling of the solar model, even for a star of same mass and effective temperature. Starspots, their surface location and migration pattern, and their link with the stellar dynamo and its internal energy transport, may have far reaching impact also for our understanding of low-mass stellar evolution and formation. Emphasis is given in this review to their importance as activity tracers in particular in the light of more and more precise exoplanet detections around solar-like, and therefore likely spotted, host stars.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics Review 09/2009; 17(3):251-308. DOI:10.1007/s00159-009-0020-6 · 17.74 Impact Factor
Show more

Preview (2 Sources)

1 Read
Available from