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Theses Doctoral

Open Clusters as Laboratories for Stellar Spin Down and Magnetic Activity Decay

Douglas, Stephanie Teresa

The oldest open clusters within 250 pc of the Sun, the Hyades and Praesepe, are important benchmarks for calibrating stellar properties such as rotation and magnetic activity. As they have the same age and roughly solar metallicity, these clusters serve as an ideal laboratory for testing the agreement between theoretical and empirical rotation-activity relations at ~650 Myr. The re-purposed Kepler mission, K2, has allowed me to measure rotation periods for dozens of Hyads and hundreds of Praesepe members, including the first periods measured for fully convective Hyads. These data have enabled new tests of models describing the evolution of stellar rotation; discrepancies with these models imply that we still do not fully understand how magnetic fields affect stellar spin-down. I show how we can compare the dependence of H-alpha and X-ray emission on rotation in order to test theories of magnetic field topology and stellar dynamos. These tests inform models of stellar wind-driven angular momentum loss and the age-rotation-activity relation. I also present rotation periods measured for 48 Hyads and 677 Praesepe members with K2, and discuss the impact of unresolved binaries on the study of rotational evolution.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Ag├╝eros, Marcel Andre
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 29, 2017