AAS 197, January 2001
Session 44. Observations and Analysis of Stellar Atmospheres
Display, Tuesday, January 9, 2001, 9:30am-7:00pm, Exhibit Hall

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[44.16] The Chromospheric Activity-Age Relation for M Dwarf Stars

N. M. Silvestri, T. D. Oswalt (Florida Inst. of Tech.), S. L. Hawley (U. of Washington)

We present preliminary results from our study in which we use moderate resolution spectroscopy to determine the correlation between the chromospheric activity and age of M dwarf stars in wide binary systems. We have observed ~50 M dwarf stars from our sample with the Apache Point Observatory 3.5-m telescope. We measure the ratio of H\alpha luminosity to the bolometric luminosity (LH\alpha/Lbol) of the M dwarf---a measure of activity that is proven to correlate well with age.

This project is unique in that it will extend the chromospheric activity-age relation of low-mass main sequence stars beyond the ages provided by cluster methods. The ages so determined are also independent of the uncertainties in cluster age determinations. The technique has the potential to improve by at least a factor of two the precision and the range over which ages can currently be determined for main sequence stars.

Work on this project is supported by the NASA Graduate Student Researchers Program grant NGT-50290 (N.M.S.).

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: nicole@luyten.astro.fit.edu

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