THE Hα EMISSION OF NEARBY M DWARFS AND ITS RELATION TO STELLAR ROTATION
Author(s)Irwin, Jonathan; Charbonneau, David; Berlind, Perry; Calkins, Michael L.; Mink, Jessica; Newton, Elisabeth R; ... Show more Show less
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The high-energy emission from low-mass stars is mediated by the magnetic dynamo. Although the mechanisms by which fully convective stars generate large-scale magnetic fields are not well understood, it is clear that, as for solar-type stars, stellar rotation plays a pivotal role. We present 270 new optical spectra of low-mass stars in the Solar Neighborhood. Combining our observations with those from the literature, our sample comprises 2202 measurements or non-detections of Hα emission in nearby M dwarfs. This includes 466 with photometric rotation periods. Stars with masses between 0.1 and 0.6 M[subscript ⊙] are well-represented in our sample, with fast and slow rotators of all masses. We observe a threshold in the mass–period plane that separates active and inactive M dwarfs. The threshold coincides with the fast-period edge of the slowly rotating population, at approximately the rotation period at which an era of rapid rotational evolution appears to cease. The well-defined active/inactive boundary indicates that Hα activity is a useful diagnostic for stellar rotation period, e.g., for target selection for exoplanet surveys, and we present a mass-period relation for inactive M dwarfs. We also find a significant, moderate correlation between L[suscript Hα]/L[subscript bol] and variability amplitude: more active stars display higher levels of photometric variability. Consistent with previous work, our data show that rapid rotators maintain a saturated value of LHα/Lbol. Our data also show a clear power-law decay in L[subscript Hα]/L[subscript bol] with Rossby number for slow rotators, with an index of −1.7 ± 0.1.
DepartmentMIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research
The Astrophysical Journal
Newton, Elisabeth R. et al. “THE Hα EMISSION OF NEARBY M DWARFS AND ITS RELATION TO STELLAR ROTATION.” The Astrophysical Journal 834.1 (2017): 85. © 2017 The American Astronomical Society
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