A Search for Coronal Emission at the Bottom of the Main-Sequence: Stars and Brown Dwarf Candidates with Spectral Types Later than M7 and the Rotation-Activity RelationThis program intended to test whether the lowest mass stars at the bottom end of the main sequence and the lower mass brown dwarfs have coronae. If they have coronae, what are the coronal characteristics and what drives them? In the classical dynamo picture, the closed magnetic loop structure is generated near the boundary of the convective envelope and the radiative core. Stars with mass below 0.30 Msun however are fully convective, and the nature of the dynamo responsible for the generation of the coronae in this regime is poorly understood. Previous results from the ROSAT mission (e.g., Fleming et al. 1993, 1995; Schmitt et al. 1995) had confirmed three very important characteristics of M-star coronae: (1) a very high percentage of all M dwarfs have coronae (of order 85% in the local 7 pc sample), (2) those M dwarfs showing high chromospheric activity, such as having the Balmer series in emission or large/numerous optical flaring, indeed exhibit the highest coronal activity, and (3) that the maximum saturation boundary in X-ray luminosity, which amounts to 0.0001-0.001 for Lx/Lbol for the dMe stars, extends down to the current detection limit, through spectral types M7. It was likely that the incompleteness noted for result (1) above was simply a detection limit problem; for more distant sources, the X-ray fainter dM stars will drop below detection thresholds before the more X-ray luminous dMe stars. The latest stars for which direct detection of the corona had been successful were of spectral type dM7 (e.g., VB8, LHS 3003). This program proposed to obtain ROSAT HRI observations for a large number of the coolest known (at that time) stars at the bottom of the main-sequence, which had spectral types of M9 or later. Three stars were approved for observations with ROSAT-HRI totaling 180 ksec. The goal was to obtain X-ray detections or low upper limits for the three approved stars.
Stringfellow, Guy (Colorado Univ. Boulder, CO, United States)