M Dwarf Rotation from the K2 Young Clusters to the Field. I. A Mass-Rotation Correlation at 10 Myr

December 2017 • 2017ApJ...850..134S

Authors • Somers, Garrett • Stauffer, John • Rebull, Luisa • Cody, Ann Marie • Pinsonneault, Marc

Abstract • Recent observations of the low-mass (0.1-0.6 {M}) rotation distributions of the Pleiades and Praesepe clusters have revealed a ubiquitous correlation between mass and rotation, such that late M dwarfs rotate an order-of-magnitude faster than early M dwarfs. In this paper, we demonstrate that this mass-rotation correlation is present in the 10 Myr Upper Scorpius association, as revealed by new K2 rotation measurements. Using rotational evolution models, we show that the low-mass rotation distribution of the 125 Myr Pleiades cluster can only be produced if it hosted an equally strong mass-rotation correlation at 10 Myr. This suggests that physical processes important in the early pre-main sequence (PMS; star formation, accretion, disk-locking) are primarily responsible for the M dwarf rotation morphology, and not quirks of later angular momentum (AM) evolution. Such early mass trends must be taken into account when constructing initial conditions for future studies of stellar rotation. Finally, we show that the average M star loses ∼25%-40% of its AM between 10 and 125 Myr, a figure accurately and generically predicted by modern solar-calibrated wind models. Their success rules out a lossless PMS and validates the extrapolation of magnetic wind laws designed for solar-type stars to the low-mass regime at early times.


IPAC Authors


Luisa Rebull

Senior Research Scientist