Wednesday, June 11 - Plenary Session

Name:  Andrew West

Affiliation:  Boston University

Title:  Wide Stellar Binaries and a Photometric (griz) Metallicity Calibration for Cool Stars

I will present a summary of recent highlights from studies identifying and capitalizing on the powerful laboratories that are low-mass, wide stellar binaries. Using large surveys such as (but not limited to) SDSS, UKIDSS and Kepler we have identified thousands of systems, many of which have spectroscopic observations (for both components) and rich photometric light curves. I will briefly discuss some of our results that exploit the coeval nature of these systems to constrain models of stellar angular momentum and magnetic activity evolution. I will particularly focus on wide pairs as tools for estimating and constraining the metal content of cool stars from their spectra and broad band colors. Specifically, I will present results from work that optimizes the Mann et al. M dwarf metallicity calibrations (derived using wide binaries) for the optical regime covered by SDSS spectra. I will demonstrate the robustness of the new calibrations using a sample of wide, low-mass binaries for which both components have an SDSS spectrum. Using these new spectroscopic metallicity calibrations, we derived relations between the metallicities (from optical spectra) and the Sloan colors derived using more than 20,000 M dwarfs in the SDSS DR7 spectroscopic catalog. I will present these relations, which have important ramifications for studies of Galactic chemical evolution, the search for exoplanets and subdwarfs, and are essential for surveys such as Pan-STARRS and LSST, which use griz photometry but have no spectroscopic component.