Friday, July 24, 2015

How Fast do Young Brown Dwarfs Rotate?

Rotation Periods of Young Brown Dwarfs: K2 Survey in Upper Scorpius


Scholz et al


We report rotational periods for 16 young brown dwarfs in the nearby Upper Scorpius association, based on 72 days of high-cadence, high-precision photometry from the Kepler space telescope's K2 mission. The periods range from a few hours to two days (plus one outlier at 5 days), with a median just above one day, confirming that brown dwarfs, except at the very youngest ages, are fast rotators. Interestingly, four of the slowest rotators in our sample exhibit mid-infrared excess emission from disks; at least two also show signs of disk eclipses and accretion in the lightcurves. Comparing these new periods with those for two other young clusters and simple angular momentum evolution tracks, we find little or no rotational braking in brown dwarfs between 1-10 Myr, in contrast to low-mass stars. Our findings show that disk braking, while still at work, is inefficient in the substellar regime, thus provide an important constraint on the mass dependence of the braking mechanism.

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