Observations of stellar clusters have had a tremendous impact in forming our understanding of stellar evolution. The open cluster M67 has a particularly important role as a calibration benchmark for stellar evolution theory due to its near-solar composition and age. As a result, it has been observed extensively, including attempts to detect solar-like oscillations in its main sequence and red giant stars. However, any asteroseismic inference has so far remained elusive due to the difficulty in measuring these extremely low-amplitude oscillations. Here we report the first unambiguous detection of solar-like oscillations in the red giants of M67. We use data from the Kepler ecliptic mission, K2, to measure the global asteroseismic properties. We find a model-independent seismic-informed distance of 816 ±11 pc, or (m - M)0 = 9.57 ± 0.03 mag, an average red giant mass of 1.36 ± 0.01 M⊙, in agreement with the dynamical mass from an eclipsing binary near the cluster turn-off, and ages of individual stars compatible with isochrone fitting. We see no evidence of strong mass loss on the red giant branch. We also determine seismic of all the cluster giants with a typical precision of ∼0.01 dex. Our results generally show good agreement with independent methods and support the use of seismic scaling relations to determine global properties of red giant stars with near-solar metallicity. We further illustrate that the data are of such high quality that future work on individual mode frequencies should be possible, which would extend the scope of seismic analysis of this cluster.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science