Date of Award

12-17-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Dr. Russel White

Second Advisor

Dr. Todd Henry

Third Advisor

Dr. Guillem Anglada-Escude

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Doug Gies

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Nikolaus Dietz

Abstract

We present an equatorial (± 30 Decl.) sample of all known single (within 4′′) mid M-dwarfs (M2.5V-M8.0V) extending out to 10 pc. For this sample of 58 stars, we provide photometry, low dispersion optical (6000−9000 ̊A) spectra from which spectral types are determined, Hα equivalent widths, and gravity sensitive NaI indices. For 45 of these 58 stars, strict limits are placed on the presence of companions, based on precise infrared radial velocities. Our spectroscopic results indicate that on average, we rule out the existence of companions with masses of 1.5 MJUP or greater in 10 day orbital periods around slowly rotating (vsini < 6.5 km s−1) M-dwarfs. Similarly, strict limits are placed on the presence of companions to 53 out of the 58 stars with astrometry. Our astrometric results show that, on average, we rule out the presence of companions with masses greater than 9 MJUP with an orbital period of 8 years. These results establish these stars as the nearest set of single mid M-dwarfs.

Two additional stars, GJ 867B and LHS 1610, were initially included in this program, but later discovered to be spectroscopic binaries (SB). The binary GJ 867BD is a wide (24.5') companion to the M2 dwarf GJ 867AC. With this discovery, the GJ 867 system (d =8.82 ± 0.08 pc) becomes one of only four quadruple systems with in 10 pc of the Sun and the only among these with all M-dwarf (or cooler components).

To measure how the rotational velocities vary with spectral type, we assembled a list of all known single (within 3′′) mid M-dwarfs that have trigonometric parallaxes within 25 pc and reside between −30 and +65 Decl from the RECONS sample. From this list of 402 stars, only 169 stars have previously reported vsini values. We obtained spectroscopic measurements for an additional 75 stars. Of those, 17 have vsini values above our detection threshold of 3 km s−1. Our data are consistent with the trend of more low mass M-dwarfs having high projected rotational velocity values than high mass M-dwarfs.

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