NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010A-0339

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Proposal Information for 2010A-0339


PI: Saurav Dhital, Vanderbilt University, saurav.dhital@vanderbilt.edu
Address: Department of Physics & Astronomy, 6301 Stevenson Center, Nashville, TN 37235, USA

CoI: Andrew A. West, Boston University
CoI: Keivan G. Stassun, Vanderbilt University

Title: Measuring the Magnetic Activity and Dynamical Evolution of M dwarfs

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 compiled the SLoWPoKES catalog, a large sample of ~1600 wide, low-mass binaries from SDSS astrometry, photometry, and proper motions, which is an order of magnitude larger than previously known wide, low-mass samples. We propose to spectroscopically observe 100 of these pairs, and complete our program started in 2008B, 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, (3) derive an absolute age-activity relationship for M dwarfs, and (4) 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 which will provide new constraints on theories of the evolution of M dwarfs.


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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