The impact of chromospheric activity on observed initial mass functions

Keivan G. Stassun, Aleks Scholz, Trent J. Dupuy, Kaitlin M. Kratter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Using recently established empirical calibrations for the impact of chromospheric activity on the radii, effective temperatures, and estimated masses of active low-mass stars and brown dwarfs, we reassess the shape of the initial mass function (IMF) across the stellar/substellar boundary in the Upper Sco star-forming region (age 5-10 Myr). We adjust the observed effective temperatures to warmer values using the observed strength of the chromospheric Hα emission, and redetermine the estimated masses of objects using pre-main-sequence evolutionary tracks in the H-R diagram. The effect of the activity-adjusted temperatures is to shift the objects to higher masses by 3%-100%. While the slope of the resulting IMF at substellar masses is not strongly changed, the peak of the IMF does shift from 0.06 to 0.11 M . Moreover, for objects with masses ≲ 0.2 M , the ratio of brown dwarfs to stars changes from 80% to 33%. These results suggest that activity corrections are essential for studies of the substellar mass function, if the masses are estimated from spectral types or from effective temperatures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number119
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Brown dwarfs
  • Stars: activity
  • Stars: fundamental parameters
  • Stars: low-mass
  • Stars: luminosity function, mass function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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