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Title: Quantifying the Transit Light Source Effect: Measurements of Spot Temperature and Coverage on the Photosphere of AU Microscopii with High-resolution Spectroscopy and Multicolor Photometry

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.

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DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
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Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Medium: X Size: Article No. 97
Article No. 97
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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