Saturday, August 29, 2015

Rotation, differential rotation, and gyrochronology of active Kepler stars

Rotation, differential rotation, and gyrochronology of active Kepler stars


Reinhold et al


The high-precision photometry from the CoRoT and Kepler satellites has led to measurements of surface rotation periods for tens of thousands of stars. Our main goal is to derive ages of thousands of field stars using consistent rotation period measurements in different gyrochronology relations. Multiple rotation periods are interpreted as surface differential rotation (DR). We re-analyze the sample of 24,124 Kepler stars from Reinhold et al. (2013) using different approaches based on the Lomb-Scargle periodogram. Each quarter (Q1-Q14) is treated individually using a prewhitening approach. Additionally, the full time series, and different segments thereof are analyzed. For more than 18,500 stars our results are consistent with the rotation periods from McQuillan et al. (2014). Thereof, more than 12,300 stars show multiple significant peaks, which we interpret as DR. Gyrochronology ages between 100 Myr and 10 Gyr were derived for more than 17,000 stars using different gyrochronology relations. We find a bimodal age distribution for Teff between 3200-4700 K. The derived ages reveal an empirical activity-age relation using photometric variability as stellar activity proxy. Additionally, we found 1079 stars with extremely stable (mostly short) periods. Half of these periods may be associated with rotation stabilized by non-eclipsing companions, the other half might be due to pulsations. The derived gyrochronology ages are well constrained since more than 93.0 % of the stars seem to be younger than the Sun where calibration is most reliable. Explaining the bimodality in the age distribution is challenging, and limits accurate stellar age predictions. The existence of cool stars with almost constant rotation period over more than three years of observation might be explained by synchronization with stellar companions, or a dynamo mechanism keeping the spot configurations extremely stable.

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