Yale Astronomy Colloquium - Travis Metcalfe

Event time: 
Thursday, April 18, 2024 - 2:30pm
Travis Metcalfe
Speaker Institution: 
White Dwarf Res. Corp.
Talk Title: 
The Evolution of Stellar Magnetism and Exoplanet Habitability
Event description: 

Over the past several years, evidence has emerged that something unexpected occurs in the evolution of rotation and magnetism near the middle of a star’s main-sequence lifetime. For solar-type stars the transition begins near the age of the Sun, when rotation becomes too slow to imprint Coriolis forces on the global convective patterns, reducing the shear induced by differential rotation, and disrupting the organization of magnetic fields on the largest spatial scales. Combining asteroseismology from NASA’s Kepler and TESS missions with spectropolarimetry from the Large Binocular Telescope and other facilities, the Sun appears to have entered this phase a few hundred million years ago, just as life was emerging from the well-shielded oceans onto land. Younger stars bombard their planets with radiation and charged particles that are hostile to the development of complex life, but older stars appear to quiet down substantially and provide a more stable environment. I will summarize the evidence for this unexpected transition, outline our current understanding of its likely origin, and speculate on the implications for exoplanet habitability beyond stellar middle-age.

Kline Tower, Room 205 See map
219 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511