PI: Saurav Dhital, Vanderbilt University, Saurav.Dhital@Vanderbilt.Edu
Address: Physics Department, 6301 Stevenson Center, Nashville, TN 37235, United States
CoI: Andrew A. West, University of California - Berkeley
CoI: Keivan G. Stassun, Vanderbilt University
Title: Measuring Magnetic Activity and Dynamical Evolution of Wide M-dwarf Binaries
Abstract: M-dwarf binaries provide coeval laboratories for studying the properties of the most numerous stellar constituents of the Milky Way. However, despite their ubiquity, M-dwarfs are intrinsically faint and thus, previous studies of M-dwarf binaries have been limited to small samples. We have identified a sample of ~360 wide, low-mass binaries from SDSS photometry and proper motions, which more than doubles the number of previously known wide, low-mass pairs. We propose to spectroscopically observe 131 of these pairs in order to measure their activity as traced by H(alpha) emission, and to measure their radial velocities in order to ascertain their absolute space motions. With these measurements, we aim to (1) investigate the intrinsic scatter in activity in low-mass dwarfs using the equal-mass pairs in our sample, (2) determine the evolution of activity in low-mass stars as functions of mass and time, and (3) study the dynamical evolution and survivability of wide binaries as they move through the Milky Way. The main results of this study will be an empirical determination of the mass-age-activity relation for M dwarfs and will put new constraints on theories of the dynamical evolution of the stellar component of the Galactic disk.
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