Rapidly Rotating, X-Ray Bright Stars in the Kepler Field

November 2016 • 2016ApJ...831...27H

Authors • Howell, Steve B. • Mason, Elena • Boyd, Patricia • Smith, Krista Lynne • Gelino, Dawn M.

Abstract • We present Kepler light curves and optical spectroscopy of twenty X-ray bright stars located in the Kepler field of view. The stars, spectral type F-K, show evidence for rapid rotation including chromospheric activity 100 times or more above the Sun at maximum and flaring behavior in their light curves. Eighteen of our objects appear to be (sub)giants and may belong to the class of FK Com variables, which are evolved rapidly spinning single stars with no excretion disk and high levels of chromospheric activity. Such stars are rare and are likely the result of W UMa binary mergers, a process believed to produce the FK Com class of variable and their descendants. The FK Com stage, including the presence of an excretion disk, is short lived but leads to longer-lived stages consisting of single, rapidly rotating evolved (sub)giants with high levels of stellar activity.


IPAC Authors


Dawn Gelino

Senior Scientist, NExScI Deputy Director