Rotation Periods of Young Brown Dwarfs: K2 Survey in Upper Scorpius

Scholz, Aleks; Kostov, Veselin; Jayawardhana, Ray; Muzic, Koraljka
The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Volume 809, Issue 2, article id. L29, 6 pp. (2015).


We report rotational periods for 16 young brown dwarfs in the nearby Upper Scorpius association, based on 72 days of high-cadence, high-precision photometry from the Keplerspace telescope’s K2 mission. The periods range from a few hours to two days (plus one outlier at five days), with a median just above one day, confirming that brown dwarfs, except at the very youngest ages, are fast rotators. Interestingly, four of the slowest rotators in our sample exhibit mid-infrared excess emission from disks; at least two also show signs of disk eclipses and accretion in the light curves. Comparing these new periods with those for two other young clusters and simple angular momentum evolution tracks, we find little or no rotational braking in brown dwarfs between 1–10 Myr, in contrast to low-mass stars. Our findings show that disk braking, while still at work, is inefficient in the substellar regime, thus providing an important constraint on the mass dependence of the braking mechanism.