skip to main content


The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Thursday, June 13 until 2:00 AM ET on Friday, June 14 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Title: Observationally Constraining the Starspot Properties of Magnetically Active M67 Sub-subgiant S1063

Our understanding of the impact of magnetic activity on stellar evolution continues to unfold. This impact is seen in sub-subgiant stars, defined to be stars that sit below the subgiant branch and red of the main sequence in a cluster color–magnitude diagram. Here we focus on S1063, a prototypical sub-subgiant in open cluster M67. We use a novel technique combining a two-temperature spectral decomposition and light-curve analysis to constrain starspot properties over a multiyear time frame. Using a high-resolution near-infrared IGRINS spectrum and photometric data from K2 and ASAS-SN, we find a projected spot filling factor of 32% ± 7% with a spot temperature of 4000 ± 200 K. This value anchors the variability seen in the light curve, indicating the spot filling factor of S1063 ranged from 20% to 45% over a four-year time period with an average spot filling factor of 30%. These values are generally lower than those determined from photometric model comparisons but still indicate that S1063, and likely other sub-subgiants, are magnetically active spotted stars. We find observational and theoretical comparisons of spotted stars are nuanced due to the projected spot coverage impacting estimates of the surface-averaged effective temperature. The starspot properties found here are similar to those found in RS CVn systems, supporting classifying sub-subgiants as another type of active giant star binary system. This technique opens the possibility of characterizing the surface conditions of many more spotted stars than previous methods, allowing for larger future studies to test theoretical models of magnetically active stars.

more » « less
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Medium: X Size: Article No. 5
["Article No. 5"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Understanding magnetic activity on the surface of stars other than the Sun is important for exoplanet analyses to properly characterize an exoplanet’s atmosphere and to further characterize stellar activity on a wide range of stars. Modeling stellar surface features of a variety of spectral types and rotation rates is key to understanding the magnetic activity of these stars. Using data from Kepler, we use the starspot modeling program STarSPot (STSP) to measure the position and size of spots for KOI-340, which is an eclipsing binary consisting of a subgiant star (Teff= 5593 ± 27 K,R= 1.98 ± 0.05R) with an M-dwarf companion (M= 0.214 ± 0.006M).STSPuses a novel technique to measure the spot positions and radii by using the transiting secondary to study and model individual active regions on the stellar surface using high-precision photometry. We find that the average size of spot features on KOI-340's primary is ∼10% the radius of the star, i.e., two times larger than the mean size of solar-maximum sunspots. The spots on KOI-340 are present at every longitude and show possible signs of differential rotation. The minimum fractional spotted area of KOI-340's primary is22+12%, while the spotted area of the Sun is at most 0.2%. One transit of KOI-340 shows a signal in the transit consistent with a plage; this plage occurs right before a dark spot, indicating that the plage and spot might be colocated on the surface of the star.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    We present a multi-epoch spectroscopic study of LkCa 4, a heavily spotted non-accreting T Tauri star. Using SpeX at NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF), 12 spectra were collected over five consecutive nights, spanning ≈1.5 stellar rotations. Using the IRTF SpeX Spectral Library, we constructed empirical composite models of spotted stars by combining a warmer (photosphere) standard star spectrum with a cooler (spot) standard weighted by the spot filling factor,fspot. The best-fit models spanned two photospheric component temperatures,Tphot= 4100 K (K7V) and 4400 K (K5V), and one spot component temperature,Tspot= 3060 K (M5V) with anAVof 0.3. We find values offspotto vary between 0.77 and 0.94 with an average uncertainty of ∼0.04. The variability offspotis periodic and correlates with its 3.374 day rotational period. Using a mean value forfmeanspotto represent the total spot coverage, we calculated spot corrected values forTeffandL. Placing these values alongside evolutionary models developed for heavily spotted young stars, we infer mass and age ranges of 0.45–0.6Mand 0.50–1.25 Myr, respectively. These inferred values represent a twofold increase in the mass and a twofold decrease in the age as compared to standard evolutionary models. Such a result highlights the need for constraining the contributions of cool and warm regions of young stellar atmospheres when estimatingTeffandLto infer masses and ages as well as the necessity for models to account for the effects of these regions on the early evolution of low-mass stars.

    more » « less

    We examine the properties of ∼50 000 rotational variables from the ASAS-SN survey using distances, stellar properties, and probes of binarity from Gaia DR3 and the SDSS APOGEE survey. They have higher amplitudes and span a broader period range than previously studied Kepler rotators. We find they divide into three groups of main sequence stars (MS1, MS2s, MS2b) and four of giants (G1/3, G2, G4s, and G4b). MS1 stars are slowly rotating (10–30 d), likely single stars with a limited range of temperatures. MS2s stars are more rapidly rotating (days) single stars spanning the lower main sequence up to the Kraft break. There is a clear period gap (or minimum) between MS1 and MS2s, similar to that seen for lower temperatures in the Kepler samples. MS2b stars are tidally locked binaries with periods of days. G1/3 stars are heavily spotted, tidally locked RS CVn stars with periods of 10s of days. G2 stars are less luminous, heavily spotted, tidally locked sub-subgiants with periods of ∼10 d. G4s stars have intermediate luminosities to G1/3 and G2, slow rotation periods (approaching 100 d), and are almost certainly all merger remnants. G4b stars have similar rotation periods and luminosities to G4s, but consist of sub-synchronously rotating binaries. We see no difference in indicators for the presence of very wide binary companions between any of these groups and control samples of photometric twin stars built for each group.

    more » « less
  4. During the survey phase of the Kepler mission, several thousand stars were observed in short cadence, allowing for the detection of solar-like oscillations in more than 500 main-sequence and subgiant stars. These detections showed the power of asteroseismology in determining fundamental stellar parameters. However, the Kepler Science Office discovered an issue in the calibration that affected half of the store of short-cadence data, leading to a new data release (DR25) with corrections on the light curves. In this work, we re-analyzed the one-month time series of the Kepler survey phase to search for solar-like oscillations that might have been missed when using the previous data release. We studied the seismic parameters of 99 stars, among which there are 46 targets with new reported solar-like oscillations, increasing, by around 8%, the known sample of solar-like stars with an asteroseismic analysis of the short-cadence data from this mission. The majority of these stars have mid- to high-resolution spectroscopy publicly available with the LAMOST and APOGEE surveys, respectively, as well as precise Gaia parallaxes. We computed the masses and radii using seismic scaling relations and we find that this new sample features massive stars (above 1.2  M ⊙ and up to 2  M ⊙ ) and subgiants. We determined the granulation parameters and amplitude of the modes, which agree with the scaling relations derived for dwarfs and subgiants. The stars studied here are slightly fainter than the previously known sample of main-sequence and subgiants with asteroseismic detections. We also studied the surface rotation and magnetic activity levels of those stars. Our sample of 99 stars has similar levels of activity compared to the previously known sample and is in the same range as the Sun between the minimum and maximum of its activity cycle. We find that for seven stars, a possible blend could be the reason for the non-detection with the early data release. Finally, we compared the radii obtained from the scaling relations with the Gaia ones and we find that the Gaia radii are overestimated by 4.4%, on average, compared to the seismic radii, with a scatter of 12.3% and a decreasing trend according to the evolutionary stage. In addition, for homogeneity purposes, we re-analyzed the DR25 of the main-sequence and subgiant stars with solar-like oscillations that were previously detected and, as a result, we provide the global seismic parameters for a total of 525 stars. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    AU Microscopii (AU Mic) is an active 24 ± 3 Myr pre-main-sequence M dwarf in the stellar neighborhood (d= 9.7 pc) with a rotation period of 4.86 days. The two transiting planets orbiting AU Mic, AU Mic b and c, are warm sub-Neptunes on 8.5 and 18.9 day periods and are targets of interest for atmospheric observations of young planets. Here we study AU Mic’s unocculted starspots using ground-based photometry and spectra in order to complement current and future transmission spectroscopy of its planets. We gathered multicolor Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) 0.4 m SBIG photometry to study the star's rotational modulations and LCO Network of Robotic Echelle Spectrographs high-resolution spectra to measure the different spectral components within the integrated spectrum of the star, parameterized by three spectral components and their coverage fractions. We find AU Mic’s surface has at least two spectral components: aTamb=400314+15K ambient photosphere and cool spots that have a temperature ofTspot=300371+63K, covering a globally averaged area of 39% ± 4% which increases and decreases by 5.1% ± 0.3% from the average throughout a rotation. We also detect a third flux component with a filling factor less than 0.5% and a largely uncertain temperature between 8500 and 10,000 K that we attribute to flare flux not entirely omitted when time averaging the spectra. We include measurements of spot characteristics using a two-temperature model, which we find agree strongly with the three-temperature results. Our expanded use of various techniques to study starspots will help us better understand this system and may have applications for interpreting the transmission spectra for exoplanets transiting stars of a wide range of activity levels.

    more » « less