Ages of stars are difficult to infer because stars change very little during the majority of their lifetimes. However, stars are observed to spin down over time due to magnetic braking, which weakens the magnetic dynamo as well. This spin down has led to a new age dating method called gyrochronology, which has been successfully calibrated for Sun-like stars up to 2.5 Gyr, but is still undetermined at older ages and lower masses. The decay of magnetic activity has also been utilized to empirically calibrate an age relationship at ages less than 600 Myr with nearby young star clusters (e.g. Hyades), and pinned down at 4 Gyr with M67, but the relationship is basically unconstrained at intermediate ages and sub-Solar masses. Advances in observational facilities have brought distant clusters into view, while the discovery of Ruprecht 147 has provided a new benchmark that is the oldest nearby cluster (3 Gyr, 300 pc, Curtis et al. 2013), and which provides a bridge across this historic age gap. I will present new, high quality chromospheric activity data for NGC 752 at 1.5 Gyr and Ruprecht 147 at 3 Gyr. The stars of Ruprecht 147 will demonstrate the typical activity level and variability experienced by the Sun at a time when multicellular life first evolved on Earth. I will also re-evaluate the M67 data by considering contamination by the interstellar medium, with implications for the frequency of Maunder Minima. Finally, I will discuss a new opportunity to investigate stellar spin down and variability in low mass KM dwarfs with the K2 Survey of Ruprecht 147, which will have just concluded in late December 2015.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts #227
- Pub Date:
- January 2016