NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009B-0160

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Proposal Information for 2009B-0160


PI: Leslie Hebb, Vanderbilt Univ. / Univ. St. Andrews, lh61@st-andrews.ac.uk
Address: Physics Department, VU Station B 1807, Nashville, TN 37235, USA

CoI: Keivan Stassun, Vanderbilt University
CoI: Andrew Collier-Cameron, University of St Andrews
CoI: Don Pollacco, Queen's University -- Belfast
CoI: Josh Pepper, Vanderbilt University
CoI: Scott Fleming, University of Florida, Gainesville
CoI: John Barnes, University of Hertfordshire

Title: Establishing the effects of metallicity and activity on the fundmental properties of M dwarfs using eclipsing binaries

Abstract: The aim of this proposal is to measure the mass-radius relation for M dwarfs as a function of metallicity and activity. Activity and metallicity effects have recently been proposed as possible explanations for the large discrepancy between the observed and theoretically predicted mass-radius relationship for M dwarfs. We have discovered a sample of 27 M dwarfs from M ~ 0.5 M_\odot down to the hydrogen burning limit which are eclipsing companions of higher mass solar type stars. The M stars in our sample have a range of rotation periods and thus activity levels. Here, we propose to obtain spectra of the binaries which, when combined with photometric light curves from our network of small telescopes, will allow us to: (1) derive the fundamental properties-masses and radii-of the M dwarfs; and (2) measure the metallicity of the system. With these data, we will increase by roughly a factor of 3 the number of stars at the very bottom of the main sequence with precisely measured fundamental properties, and explore how other characteristics such as activity and metallicity affect the mass-radius relationship of low mass stars.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



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