Angular momentum loss from cool stars: An empirical expression and connection to stellar activity

Sydney A. Barnes, Yong Cheol Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Citations (Scopus)


We show here that the rotation period data in open clusters allow the empirical determination of an expression for the rate of loss of angular momentum from cool stars on the main sequence. One significant component of the expression, the dependence on rotation rate, persists from prior work; others do not. The expression has a bifurcation, as before, that corresponds to an observed bifurcation in the rotation periods of coeval open cluster stars. The dual dependencies of this loss rate on stellarmass are captured by two functions, f (B-V ) and T (B-V ), that can be determined from the rotation period observations. Equivalent masses and other [UBVRIJHK] colors are provided in Table 1. Dimensional considerations and a comparison with appropriate calculated quantities suggest interpretations for f and T, both of which appear to be related closely (but differently) to the calculated convective turnover timescale, tc, in cool stars. This identification enables us to write down symmetrical expressions for the angular momentum loss rate and the deceleration of cool stars and also to revive the convective turnover timescale as a vital connection between stellar rotation and stellar activity physics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-685
Number of pages11
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Sept 20

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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