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Measuring the Rotation Periods of TESS stars

Presentation #415.01 in the session “Stellar Rotation, Variability, and Flares 1”.

Published onJan 11, 2021
Measuring the Rotation Periods of TESS stars

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is an observing mission designed to effectively search for transits of Earth-like planets, however there is an additional opportunity to study stellar rotation from the abundance of light curves collected. Magnetic spots on the surfaces of stars cause periodic modulations in their light curves from which a stellar rotation period can often be measured. As a fundamental stellar parameter, rotation rates are closely linked to the masses, evolutionary stages, and magnetic activity levels of stars. Additionally, stellar rotation can be used to infer the ages of stars via ‘gyrochronology’ and can play a key role in exoplanet follow-up. In this work, we set out to measure the rotation periods of 2-minute cadence TESS targets. The rotation periods of thousands of cool main sequence TESS stars could uncover new stellar astrophysics and can be used to inform stellar evolution models. As an all-sky survey, TESS lets us study large ensembles of field and cluster stars, yet development of statistical methods for measuring stellar rotation is key to providing a reliable and accurate period catalog . In this talk I will discuss the computational and engineering challenges associated with developing statistical methods to measure stellar rotation from TESS light curves.

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