skip to main content

Title: Correlating Changes in Spot Filling Factors with Stellar Rotation: The Case of LkCa 4

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 more » 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.

« less
; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Article No. 10
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Benchmark brown dwarf companions with well-determined ages and model-independent masses are powerful tools to test substellar evolutionary models and probe the formation of giant planets and brown dwarfs. Here, we report the independent discovery of HIP 21152 B, the first imaged brown dwarf companion in the Hyades, and conduct a comprehensive orbital and atmospheric characterization of the system. HIP 21152 was targeted in an ongoing high-contrast imaging campaign of stars exhibiting proper-motion changes between Hipparcos and Gaia, and was also recently identified by Bonavita et al. (2022) and Kuzuhara et al. (2022). Our Keck/NIRC2 and SCExAO/CHARIS imaging of HIP 21152 revealed a comoving companion at a separation of 0.″37 (16 au). We perform a joint orbit fit of all available relative astrometry and radial velocities together with the Hipparcos-Gaia proper motions, yielding a dynamical mass of244+6MJup, which is 1–2σlower than evolutionary model predictions. Hybrid grids that include the evolution of cloud properties best reproduce the dynamical mass. We also identify a comoving wide-separation (1837″ or 7.9 × 104au) early-L dwarf with an inferred mass near the hydrogen-burning limit. Finally, we analyze the spectra and photometry of HIP 21152 B using the Saumon & Marley (2008)more »atmospheric models and a suite of retrievals. The best-fit grid-based models havefsed= 2, indicating the presence of clouds,Teff= 1400 K, andlogg=4.5dex. These results are consistent with the object’s spectral type of T0 ± 1. As the first benchmark brown dwarf companion in the Hyades, HIP 21152 B joins the small but growing number of substellar companions with well-determined ages and dynamical masses.

    « less
  2. Abstract We present the third discovery from the COol Companions ON Ultrawide orbiTS (COCONUTS) program, the COCONUTS-3 system, composed of the young M5 primary star UCAC4 374−046899 and the very red L6 dwarf WISEA J081322.19−152203.2. These two objects have a projected separation of 61 ′ ′ (1891 au) and are physically associated given their common proper motions and estimated distances. The primary star, COCONUTS-3A, has a mass of 0.123 ± 0.006 M ⊙ , and we estimate its age as 100 Myr to 1 Gyr based on its stellar activity (via H α and X-ray emission), kinematics, and spectrophotometric properties. We derive its bulk metallicity as 0.21 ± 0.07 dex using empirical calibrations established by older and higher-gravity M dwarfs and find that this [Fe/H] could be slightly underestimated according to PHOENIX models given COCONUTS-3A’s younger age. The companion, COCONUTS-3B, has a near-infrared spectral type of L6 ± 1 int-g , and we infer physical properties of T eff = 1362 − 73 + 48 K, log ( g ) = 4.96 − 0.34 + 0.15 dex, R = 1.03 − 0.06 + 0.12 R Jup , and M = 39 − 18 + 11 M Jup using its bolometricmore »luminosity, its host star’s age, and hot-start evolution models. We construct cloudy atmospheric model spectra at the evolution-based physical parameters and compare them to COCONUTS-3B’s spectrophotometry. We find that this companion possesses ample condensate clouds in its photosphere ( f sed = 1) with the data–model discrepancies likely due to the models using an older version of the opacity database. Compared to field-age L6 dwarfs, COCONUTS-3B has fainter absolute magnitudes and a 120 K cooler T eff . Also, the J − K color of this companion is among the reddest for ultracool benchmarks with ages older than a few hundred megayears. COCONUTS-3 likely formed in the same fashion as stellar binaries given the companion-to-host mass ratio of 0.3 and represents a valuable benchmark to quantify the systematics of substellar model atmospheres.« less
  3. Abstract We present the discovery of an exceptional dimming event in a cool supergiant star in the Local Volume spiral M51. The star, dubbed M51-DS1, was found as part of a Hubble Space Telescope (HST) search for failed supernovae (SNe). The supergiant, which is plausibly associated with a very young (≲6 Myr) stellar population, showed clear variability (amplitude Δ F 814 W ≈ 0.7 mag) in numerous HST images obtained between 1995 and 2016, before suddenly dimming by >2 mag in F 814 W sometime between late 2017 and mid-2019. In follow-up data from 2021, the star rebrightened, ruling out a failed supernova. Prior to its near-disappearance, the star was luminous and red ( M F 814 W ≲ − 7.6 mag, F 606 W − F 814 W = 1.9–2.2 mag). Modeling of the pre-dimming spectral energy distribution of the star favors a highly reddened, very luminous ( log [ L / L ⊙ ] = 5.4 –5.7) star with T eff ≈ 3700–4700 K, indicative of a cool yellow or post-red supergiant (RSG) with an initial mass of ≈26–40 M ⊙ . However, the local interstellar extinction and circumstellar extinction are uncertain, and could be lower: the near-IRmore »colors are consistent with an RSG, which would be cooler ( T eff ≲ 3700 K) and slightly less luminous ( log [ L / L ⊙ ] = 5.2 –5.3), giving an inferred initial mass of ≈19–22 M ⊙ . In either case, the dimming may be explained by a rare episode of enhanced mass loss that temporarily obscures the star, potentially a more extreme counterpart to the 2019–2020 “Great Dimming” of Betelgeuse. Given the emerging evidence that massive evolved stars commonly exhibit variability that can mimic a disappearing star, our work highlights a substantial challenge in identifying true failed SNe.« less
  4. Context. The origin of the observed population of Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars in low-metallicity galaxies, such as the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), is not yet understood. Standard, single-star evolutionary models predict that WR stars should stem from very massive O-type star progenitors, but these are very rare. On the other hand, binary evolutionary models predict that WR stars could originate from primary stars in close binaries. Aims. We conduct an analysis of the massive O star, AzV 14, to spectroscopically determine its fundamental and stellar wind parameters, which are then used to investigate evolutionary paths from the O-type to the WR stage with stellar evolutionary models. Methods. Multi-epoch UV and optical spectra of AzV 14 are analyzed using the non-local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) stellar atmosphere code PoWR. An optical TESS light curve was extracted and analyzed using the PHOEBE code. The obtained parameters are put into an evolutionary context, using the MESA code. Results. AzV 14 is a close binary system with a period of P  = 3.7058 ± 0.0013 d. The binary consists of two similar main sequence stars with masses of M 1, 2  ≈ 32  M ⊙ . Both stars have weak stellar winds with mass-loss rates of log Ṁ /( M ⊙ yrmore »−1 ) = −7.7 ± 0.2. Binary evolutionary models can explain the empirically derived stellar and orbital parameters, including the position of the AzV 14 components on the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, revealing its current age of 3.3 Myr. The model predicts that the primary will evolve into a WR star with T eff  ≈ 100 kK, while the secondary, which will accrete significant amounts of mass during the first mass transfer phase, will become a cooler WR star with T eff  ≈ 50 kK. Furthermore, WR stars that descend from binary components that have accreted significant amount of mass are predicted to have increased oxygen abundances compared to other WR stars. This model prediction is supported by a spectroscopic analysis of a WR star in the SMC. Conclusions. Inspired by the binary evolutionary models, we hypothesize that the populations of WR stars in low-metallicity galaxies may have bimodal temperature distributions. Hotter WR stars might originate from primary stars, while cooler WR stars are the evolutionary descendants of the secondary stars if they accreted a significant amount of mass. These results may have wide-ranging implications for our understanding of massive star feedback and binary evolution channels at low metallicity.« less
  5. Context. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission is revolutionizing the blossoming area of asteroseismology, particularly of pulsating white dwarfs and pre-white dwarfs, thus continuing the impulse of its predecessor, the Kepler mission. Aims. In this paper, we present the observations from the extended TESS mission in both 120 s short-cadence and 20 s ultra-short-cadence mode of two pre-white dwarf stars showing hydrogen deficiency. We identify them as two new GW Vir stars, TIC 333432673 and TIC 095332541. We apply the tools of asteroseismology with the aim of deriving their structural parameters and seismological distances. Methods. We carried out a spectroscopic analysis and a spectral fitting of TIC 333432673 and TIC 095332541. We also processed and analyzed the high-precision TESS photometric light curves of the two target stars, and derived their oscillation frequencies. We performed an asteroseismological analysis of these stars on the basis of PG 1159 evolutionary models that take into account the complete evolution of the progenitor stars. We searched for patterns of uniform period spacings in order to constrain the stellar mass of the stars. We employed the individual observed periods to search for a representative seismological model. Results. The analysis of the TESS light curves ofmore »TIC 333432673 and TIC 095332541 reveals the presence of several oscillations with periods ranging from 350 to 500 s associated to typical gravity ( g )-modes. From follow-up ground-based spectroscopy, we find that both stars have a similar effective temperature ( T eff  = 120 000 ± 10 000 K) and surface gravity (log g  = 7.5 ± 0.5), but a different He/C composition of their atmosphere. On the basis of PG 1159 evolutionary tracks, we derived a spectroscopic mass of M ⋆ = 0.58 −0.08 +0.16   M ⊙ for both stars. Our asteroseismological analysis of TIC 333432673 allowed us to find a constant period spacing compatible with a stellar mass M ⋆  ∼ 0.60 − 0.61  M ⊙ , and an asteroseismological model for this star with a stellar mass M ⋆ = 0.589 ± 0.020 M ⊙ , as well as a seismological distance of d = 459 −156 +188 pc. For this star, we find an excellent agreement between the different methods to infer the stellar mass, and also between the seismological distance and that measured with Gaia ( d Gaia = 389 −5.2 +5.6 pc). For TIC 095332541, we have found a possible period spacing that suggests a stellar mass of M ⋆  ∼ 0.55 − 0.57  M ⊙ . Unfortunately, we have not been able to find an asteroseismological model for this star. Conclusions. Using the high-quality data collected by the TESS space mission and follow-up spectroscopy, we have been able to discover and characterize two new GW Vir stars. The TESS mission is having, and will continue to have, an unprecedented impact on the area of white-dwarf asteroseismology.« less