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Surface rotation of Kepler red giant stars


Kepler allows the measurement of starspot variability in a large sample of field red giants for the first time. With a new method that combines autocorrelation and wavelet decomposition, we measure 361 rotation periods from the full set of 17,377 oscillating red giants in our sample. This represents 2.08% of the stars, consistent with the fraction of spectroscopically detected rapidly rotating giants in the field. The remaining stars do not show enough variability to allow us to measure a reliable surface rotation period. Because the stars with detected rotation periods have measured oscillations, we can infer their global properties, e.g. mass and radius, and quantitatively evaluate the predictions of standard stellar evolution models as a function of mass. Consistent with results for cluster giants, when we consider only the 4881 intermediate-mass stars, M>2.0 M$\odot$ from our full red giant sample, we do not find the enhanced rates of rapid rotation one would expect from angular momentum conservation. We therefore suggest that either enhanced angular momentum loss or radial differential rotation must be occurring in these stars. Finally, when we examine the 575 low-mass (M<1.1 M$\odot$) red clump stars in our sample, which we would have expected to exhibit slow (non-detectable) rotation, 15% of them actually have detectable rotation. This suggests a high rate of interactions and stellar mergers on the red giant branch.
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cea-01586811 , version 1 (13-09-2017)



T. Ceillier, J. Tayar, S. Mathur, D. Salabert, R. A. Garcia, et al.. Surface rotation of Kepler red giant stars. 2017. ⟨cea-01586811⟩
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