Rae Holcomb (UC Irvine and the Flatiron Institute): "Spin Me a Tale: Stellar Rotation in the TESS Era"


The introduction of wide-field photometric surveys such as Kepler and TESS has revolutionized the field of stellar rotation. For the first time, astronomers can measure rotation periods for tens of thousands of stars across the entirety of the night sky, which has opened up new questions in the fields of gyrochronology, stellar structure and evolution, galactic archeology, and more. This wealth of data has also driven a proliferation of new methods to extract stellar rotation periods from large data sets. In this talk, I will discuss the challenges of recovering rotation periods from the TESS data set and my own work developing SpinSpotter, an open source package that uses autocorrelation analysis to identify fast rotating main sequence stars from TESS light curves. I will also introduce the TESS Rotation Collaboration, which is an in-progress effort between scientists from over a dozen institutions to perform a comparative analysis of various rotation-finding methods on simulated TESS data. The results of this collaboration will help us understand the effectiveness of various methods in different regions of parameter space, and illuminate what challenges still remain when studying stellar rotation with current technology.