NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010A-0294

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Proposal Information for 2010A-0294


PI: Soren Meibom, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, smeibom@cfa.harvard.edu
Address: Optical and Infrared Astronomy Division, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

CoI: Steve Howell, NOAO
CoI: Sydney Barnes, Lowell Observatory
CoI: Ronald L. Gilliland, Space Telescope Science Institute

Title: Resolving and characterizing stars in the cores of NGC6819 and NGC6791

Abstract: In an effort to find transiting extrasolar planets in star clusters, and to measure the rotation periods of cluster members, the Kepler space mission will observe stars in old open clusters over the next 3.5 years. This program will make possible studies of the properties of planets and planetary systems as a function of host star age, mass, metallicity, and stellar evolution and environment. Stellar rotation periods measured from Kepler light curves in old clusters, will improve empirical relations between rotation and age for stars of different masses, and lay a strong foundation for a better understanding of their angular momentum evolution. The program is also critical to further develop a new technique (gyrochronology) to determine stellar ages from measurements of their rotation periods and colors alone. NGC6819 (2.5Gyr) and NGC6791 (8Gyr) are key clusters in the Kepler Open Cluster Study. Due to their richness and distance, their cores are crowded and blended signals in Kepler images must be treated properly. Difference Imaging Analysis (DIA) is superior for extraction of relative photometric changes in crowded stellar fields, but rely on prior precise astrometric and photometric measurements for the stellar field. We propose for high resolution multi-color imaging of the central regions of NGC6819 and NGC6791 with WIYN/OPTIC to resolve and characterize individual stars in the cluster cores, and establish a complete star catalog to V=22.


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