The Effects of Stellar Rotation. I. Impact on the Ionizing Spectra and Integrated Properties of Stellar Populations

Emily M. Levesque (1), Claus Leitherer (2), Sylvia Ekstrom (3), Georges Meynet (3), Daniel Schaerer (3)

(1) University of Colorado at Boulder
(2) Space Telescope Science Institute
(3) Geneva Observatory

We present a sample of synthetic massive stellar populations created using the Starburst99 evolutionary synthesis code and new sets of stellar evolutionary tracks, including one set that adopts a detailed treatment of rotation. Using the outputs of the Starburst99 code, we compare the populations' integrated properties, including ionizing radiation fields, bolometric luminosities, and colors. With these comparisons we are able to probe the specific effects of rotation on the properties of a stellar population. We find that a population of rotating stars produces a much harder ionizing radiation field and a higher bolometric luminosity, changes that are primarily attributable to the effects of rotational mixing on the lifetimes, luminosities, effective temperatures, and mass loss rates of massive stars. We consider the implications of the profound effects that rotation can have on a stellar population, and discuss the importance of refining stellar evolutionary models for future work in the study of extragalactic, and particularly high-redshift, stellar populations.

Reference: ApJ, in press
Status: Manuscript has been accepted