Rotational evolution of slow-rotator sequence stars
1 Università di Catania, Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Sezione Astrofisica, via S. Sofia 78, 95123 Catania, Italy
2 INAF–Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania, via S. Sofia 78, 95123 Catania, Italy
3 Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP), An der Sternwarte 16, 14482 Potsdam, Germany
Received: 17 June 2015
Accepted: 16 September 2015
Context. The observed relationship between mass, age and rotation in open clusters shows the progressive development of a slow-rotator sequence among stars possessing a radiative interior and a convective envelope during their pre-main sequence and main-sequence evolution. After 0.6 Gyr, most cluster members of this type have settled on this sequence.
Aims. The observed clustering on this sequence suggests that it corresponds to some equilibrium or asymptotic condition that still lacks a complete theoretical interpretation, and which is crucial to our understanding of the stellar angular momentum evolution.
Methods. We couple a rotational evolution model, which takes internal differential rotation into account, with classical and new proposals for the wind braking law, and fit models to the data using a Monte Carlo Markov chain (MCMC) method tailored to the problem at hand. We explore to what extent these models are able to reproduce the mass and time dependence of the stellar rotational evolution on the slow-rotator sequence.
Results. The description of the evolution of the slow-rotator sequence requires taking the transfer of angular momentum from the radiative core to the convective envelope into account. We find that, in the mass range 0.85–1.10 M⊙, the core-envelope coupling timescale for stars in the slow-rotator sequence scales as M-7.28. Quasi-solid body rotation is achieved only after 1–2 Gyr, depending on stellar mass, which implies that observing small deviations from the Skumanich law () would require period data of older open clusters than is available to date. The observed evolution in the 0.1–2.5 Gyr age range and in the 0.85–1.10 M⊙ mass range is best reproduced by assuming an empirical mass dependence of the wind angular momentum loss proportional to the convective turnover timescale and to the stellar moment of inertia. Period isochrones based on our MCMC fit provide a tool for inferring stellar ages of solar-like main-sequence stars from their mass and rotation period that is largely independent of the wind braking model adopted. These effectively represent gyro-chronology relationships that take the physics of the two-zone model for the stellar angular momentum evolution into account.
Key words: stars: rotation / stars: evolution / stars: late-type / open clusters and associations: general
© ESO, 2015