The Rotation of M Dwarfs Observed by the Apache Point Galactic Evolution Experiment

Steven H. Gilhool, Cullen H. Blake, Ryan C. Terrien, Chad Bender, Suvrath Mahadevan, Rohit Deshpande

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9 Scopus citations


We present the results of a spectroscopic analysis of rotational velocities in 714 M-dwarf stars observed by the SDSS-III Apache Point Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) survey. We use a template-fitting technique to estimate v i sin while simultaneously estimating log g, [ ] M H , and Teff. We conservatively estimate that our detection limit is 8 km s-1. We compare our results to M-dwarf rotation studies in the literature based on both spectroscopic and photometric measurements. Like other authors, we find an increase in the fraction of rapid rotators with decreasing stellar temperature, exemplified by a sharp increase in rotation near the M4 transition to fully convective stellar interiors, which is consistent with the hypothesis that fully convective stars are unable to shed angular momentum as efficiently as those with radiative cores. We compare a sample of targets observed both by APOGEE and the MEarth transiting planet survey and find no cases where the measured v i sin and rotation period are physically inconsistent, requiring sin i > 1. We compare our spectroscopic results to the fraction of rotators inferred from photometric surveys and find that while the results are broadly consistent, the photometric surveys exhibit a smaller fraction of rotators beyond the M4 transition by a factor of ∼2. We discuss possible reasons for this discrepancy. Given our detection limit, our results are consistent with a bimodal distribution in rotation that is seen in photometric surveys.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number38
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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