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  1. Abstract We present a spectroscopic analysis of a sample of 48 M-dwarf stars (0.2 M ⊙ < M < 0.6 M ⊙ ) from the Hyades open cluster using high-resolution H -band spectra from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey/Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) survey. Our methodology adopts spectrum synthesis with LTE MARCS model atmospheres, along with the APOGEE Data Release 17 line list, to determine effective temperatures, surface gravities, metallicities, and projected rotational velocities. The median metallicity obtained for the Hyades M dwarfs is [M/H] = 0.09 ± 0.03 dex, indicating a small internal uncertainty and good agreement with optical results for Hyades red giants. Overall, the median radii are larger than predicted by stellar models by 1.6% ± 2.3% and 2.4% ± 2.3%, relative to a MIST and DARTMOUTH isochrone, respectively. We emphasize, however, that these isochrones are different, and the fractional radius inflation for the fully and partially convective regimes have distinct behaviors depending on the isochrone. Using a MIST isochrone there is no evidence of radius inflation for the fully convective stars, while for the partially convective M dwarfs the radii are inflated by 2.7% ± 2.1%, which is in agreement with predictions from modelsmore »that include magnetic fields. For the partially convective stars, rapid rotators present on average higher inflation levels than slow rotators. The comparison with SPOTS isochrone models indicates that the derived M-dwarf radii can be explained by accounting for stellar spots in the photosphere of the stars, with 76% of the studied M dwarfs having up to 20% spot coverage, and the most inflated stars with ∼20%–40% spot coverage.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  2. ABSTRACT We present a catalogue of 3354 candidate young stars within 500 pc that appear to have been ejected from their parent associations with relative speeds of >5 km s−1. These candidates have been homogeneously selected through performing a 2D spherical traceback of previously identified pre-main-sequence candidates to various star-forming regions, ensuring that the traceback age as well as the estimated age of a star is consistent with the age of the population, and excluding contaminants from the nearby moving groups that follow the dominant velocity currents in the field. Among the identified candidates we identify a number of pairs that appear to have interacted in the process of the ejection; these pairs have similar traceback time, and their trajectory appears to be diametrically opposite from each other, or they have formed a wide binary in the process. As the selection of these candidates is performed solely in 2D, spectral follow-up is necessary for their eventual confirmation. Unfortunately, recently released Gaia DR3 radial velocities appear to be unsuitable for characterizing the kinematics of low-mass stars with ages <100 Myr, as the accretion, activity, and a variety of other spectral features that make them distinct from the more evolved stars do not appear tomore »have been accurately accounted for in the data, resulting in significant artificially inflated scatter in their RV distribution.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 13, 2023
  3. Abstract We report the characterization of 28 low-mass (0.02 M ⊙ ≤ M 2 ≤ 0.25 M ⊙ ) companions to Kepler objects of interest (KOIs), eight of which were previously designated confirmed planets. These objects were detected as transiting companions to Sunlike stars (G and F dwarfs) by the Kepler mission and are confirmed as single-lined spectroscopic binaries in the current work using the northern multiplexed Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment near-infrared spectrograph (APOGEE-N) as part of the third and fourth Sloan Digital Sky Surveys. We have observed hundreds of KOIs using APOGEE-N and collected a total of 43,175 spectra with a median of 19 visits and a median baseline of ∼1.9 yr per target. We jointly model the Kepler photometry and APOGEE-N radial velocities to derive fundamental parameters for this subset of 28 transiting companions. The radii for most of these low-mass companions are overinflated (by ∼10%) when compared to theoretical models. Tidally locked M dwarfs on short-period orbits show the largest amount of inflation, but inflation is also evident for companions that are well separated from the host star. We demonstrate that APOGEE-N data provide reliable radial velocities when compared to precise high-resolution spectrographs that enablemore »detailed characterization of individual systems and the inference of orbital elements for faint ( H > 12) KOIs. The data from the entire APOGEE-KOI program are public and present an opportunity to characterize an extensive subset of the binary population observed by Kepler.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024

    We analyse high-cadence data from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) of the ambiguous nuclear transient (ANT) ASASSN-18el. The optical changing-look phenomenon in ASASSN-18el has been argued to be due to either a drastic change in the accretion rate of the existing active galactic nucleus (AGN) or the result of a tidal disruption event (TDE). Throughout the TESS observations, short-time-scale stochastic variability is seen, consistent with an AGN. We are able to fit the TESS light curve with a damped-random-walk (DRW) model and recover a rest-frame variability amplitude of $\hat{\sigma } = 0.93 \pm 0.02$ mJy and a rest-frame time-scale of $\tau _{DRW} = 20^{+15}_{-6}$ d. We find that the estimated τDRW for ASASSN-18el is broadly consistent with an apparent relationship between the DRW time-scale and central supermassive black hole mass. The large-amplitude stochastic variability of ASASSN-18el, particularly during late stages of the flare, suggests that the origin of this ANT is likely due to extreme AGN activity rather than a TDE.

  5. Abstract

    During the first half of their main-sequence lifetimes, stars rapidly lose angular momentum to their magnetized winds, a process known as magnetic braking. Recent observations suggest a substantial decrease in the magnetic braking efficiency when stars reach a critical value of the Rossby number, the stellar rotation period normalized by the convective overturn timescale. Cooler stars have deeper convection zones with longer overturn times, reaching this critical Rossby number at slower rotation rates. The nature and timing of the transition to weakened magnetic braking have previously been constrained by several solar analogs and two slightly hotter stars. In this Letter, we derive the first direct constraints from stars cooler than the Sun. We present new spectropolarimetry of the old G8 dwarfτCet from the Large Binocular Telescope, and we reanalyze a published Zeeman Doppler image of the younger G8 star 61 UMa, yielding the large-scale magnetic field strengths and morphologies. We estimate mass-loss rates using archival X-ray observations and inferences from Lyαmeasurements, and we adopt other stellar properties from asteroseismology and spectral energy distribution fitting. The resulting calculations of the wind braking torque demonstrate that the rate of angular momentum loss drops by a factor of 300 between the agesmore »of these two stars (1.4–9 Gyr), well above theoretical expectations. We summarize the available data to help constrain the value of the critical Rossby number, and we identify a new signature of the long-period detection edge in recent measurements from the Kepler mission.

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  6. Abstract We created the APOGEE-GALEX-Gaia catalog to study white dwarf (WD) binaries. This database aims to create a minimally biased sample of WD binary systems identified from a combination of GALEX, Gaia, and APOGEE data to increase the number of WD binaries with orbital parameters and chemical compositions. We identify 3414 sources as WD binary candidates, with nondegenerate companions of spectral types between F and M, including main-sequence stars, main-sequence binaries, subgiants, sub-subgiants, red giants, and red clump stars. Among our findings are (a) a total of 1806 systems having inferred WD radii R < 25 R ⊕ , which constitute a more reliable group of WD binary candidates within the main sample; (b) a difference in the metallicity distribution function between WD binary candidates and the control sample of most luminous giants ( M H < −3.0); (c) the existence of a population of sub-subgiants with WD companions; (d) evidence for shorter periods in binaries that contain WDs compared to those that do not, as shown by the cumulative distributions of APOGEE radial velocity shifts; (e) evidence for systemic orbital evolution in a sample of 252 WD binaries with orbital periods, based on differences in the period distribution betweenmore »systems with red clump, main-sequence binary, and sub-subgiant companions and systems with main-sequence or red giant companions; and (f) evidence for chemical enrichment during common envelope (CE) evolution, shown by lower metallicities in wide WD binary candidates ( P > 100 days) compared to post-CE ( P < 100 days) WD binary candidates.« less
  7. Abstract

    The bright starλSer hosts a hot Neptune with a minimum mass of 13.6Mand a 15.5 day orbit. It also appears to be a solar analog, with a mean rotation period of 25.8 days and surface differential rotation very similar to the Sun. We aim to characterize the fundamental properties of this system and constrain the evolutionary pathway that led to its present configuration. We detect solar-like oscillations in time series photometry from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, and we derive precise asteroseismic properties from detailed modeling. We obtain new spectropolarimetric data, and we use them to reconstruct the large-scale magnetic field morphology. We reanalyze the complete time series of chromospheric activity measurements from the Mount Wilson Observatory, and we present new X-ray and ultraviolet observations from the Chandra and Hubble space telescopes. Finally, we use the updated observational constraints to assess the rotational history of the star and estimate the wind braking torque. We conclude that the remaining uncertainty on the stellar age currently prevents an unambiguous interpretation of the properties ofλSer, and that the rate of angular momentum loss appears to be higher than for other stars with a similar Rossby number. Future asteroseismic observations may help tomore »improve the precision of the stellar age.

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    We calculate the α-enhancement ratio [α/Fe] for the Mapping Nearby Galaxies at APO (MaNGA) Stellar Library (MaStar) while also fitting for the fundamental atmospheric parameters effective temperature, surface gravity, and metallicity – Teff, log g, [Fe/H]. This approach builds upon a previous catalogue of stellar parameters, whereby only the fundamental atmospheric parameters are fit with solar-scaled models. Here, we use the same Markov Chain Monte Carlo method with the additional free parameter [α/Fe]. Using the full spectral fitting code pPXF, we are able to fit multiple lines sensitive to [α/Fe] for a more robust measurement. Quality flags based on the convergence of the sampler, errors in [α/Fe] and a cut in the χ2 of the model fit are used to clean the final catalogue, returning 17 214 spectra and values in the range of −0.25 < [α/Fe] < 0.48. Comparing our calculated [α/Fe] with literature values reveals a degeneracy in cool stars with log g ≥ ∼4; this comparison is then used to create an alternative and calibrated parameter set. We also plot the final catalogue in an [Fe/H] versus [α/Fe] diagram and recover the expected result of increasing [α/Fe] with decreasing [Fe/H] for Milky Way disc-halo stars. We applymore »our method to a subsample of spectra of uniform resolution and higher signal to noise that finds that our results are independent of this higher signal to noise. In the context of stellar population models, we are able to cover a parameter space for the creation of intermediate to old age models at solar-scaled [α/Fe], high [Fe/H] and enhanced [α/Fe], low [Fe/H].

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  9. Abstract

    Very young (t≲ 10 Myr) stars possess strong magnetic fields that channel ionized gas from the interiors of their circumstellar disks to the surface of the star. Upon impacting the stellar surface, the shocked gas recombines and emits hydrogen spectral lines. To characterize the density and temperature of the gas within these accretion streams, we measure equivalent widths of Brackett (Br) 11–20 emission lines detected in 1101 APOGEE spectra of 326 likely pre-main-sequence accretors. For sources with multiple observations, we measure median epoch-to-epoch line strength variations of 10% in Br11 and 20% in Br20. We also fit the measured line ratios to predictions of radiative transfer models by Kwan & Fischer. We find characteristic best-fit electron densities ofne= 1011–1012cm−3, and excitation temperatures that are inversely correlated with electron density (fromT∼ 5000 K forne∼ 1012cm−3toT∼ 12,500 K atne∼ 1011cm−3). These physical parameters are in good agreement with predictions from modeling of accretion streams that account for the hydrodynamics and radiative transfer within the accretion stream. We also present a supplementary catalog of line measurements from 9733 spectra of 4255 Brackett emission-line sources in the APOGEE Data Release 17 data set.