Kepler Observations of Starspot Evolution, Differential Rotation, and Flares on Late-Type Stars
2011 (English)In: American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts #218, 2011Conference paper (Refereed)
The Kepler satellite is providing spectacular optical photometric light-curves of unprecedented precision and duration that routinely allow detailed studies of stellar magnetic activity on late-type stars that were difficult, if not impossible, to attempt previously. Rotational modulation due to starspots is commonly seen in the Kepler light-curves of late-type stars, allowing detailed study of the surface distribution of their photospheric magnetic activity. Kepler is providing multi-year duration light-curves that allow us to investigate how activity phenomena – such as the growth, migration, and decay of starspots, differential rotation, activity cycles, and flaring – operate on single and binary stars with a wide range of mass and convection zone depth. We present the first results from detailed starspot modeling using newly-developed light-curve inversion codes for a range of GALEX-selected stars with typical rotation periods of a few days, that we have observed as part of our 200 target Kepler Cycle 1/2 Guest Observer programs. The physical properties of the stars have been measured using high resolution optical spectroscopy, which allows the Kepler results to be placed within the existing framework of knowledge regarding stellar magnetic activity. These results demonstrate the powerful diagnostic capability provided by tracking starspot evolution essentially continuously for more than 16 months. The starspots are clearly sampling the stellar rotation rate at different latitudes, enabling us to measure the differential rotation and starspot lifetimes. As would be expected, stars with few day rotation show frequent flaring that is easily seen as ”white-light” flares in Kepler light-curves. We compare the observed flare rates and occurrence with the starspot properties. This work contains results obtained using the NASA Kepler satellite and from the Apache Point Observatory, the MMT (using NOAO community access time), and the Hobby-Eberly Telescope. Funding is provided by NASA Kepler grants NNX10AC51G and NNX11AC79G.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-170198OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-170198DiVA: diva2:508561
American Astronomical Society Meeting, 218, 22-26 May 2011, Boston, Massachusetts