Seminar Series


Sydney Barnes, Lowell Observatory

08 Dec 2011 - 16:00

Gyrochronology is a method of deriving the precise age of a cool star from its measured rotation period, itself derived from photometric time-series observations from the ground or from space. Although derived originally using open-cluster observations, it can potentially be applied on a massive scale to field stars, permitting the construction of the "histories" of astronomical phenomena, and even a "chronology of the Galaxy." I will relate the empirical origins of gyrochronology, and connect these to relevant theoretical issues in cool star rotation and activity. A hybrid of theoretical and observational approaches seems to promise the best ages, including pointers for removing errors in prior age determination methods, and insights into the underlying physics. Finally, I will outline how small surveys are changing, and large surveys could potentially revolutionize, our understanding of the ages of astronomical objects, and of related evolutionary processes in the Galaxy.

LCO Seminar Series,
6740 Cortona Dr, Suite 102,
Goleta, CA 93117