Probing the origin of stellar flares on M dwarfs using TESS data sectors 1–3

Lauren Doyle*, Gavin Ramsay, John Gerard Doyle, Kinwah Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)
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Detailed studies of the Sun have shown that sunspots and solar flares are closely correlated. Photometric data from Kepler/K2 has allowed similar studies to be carried out on other stars. Here, we utilize Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) photometric 2-min cadence of 167 low-mass stars from Sectors 1 to 3 to investigate the relationship between star-spots and stellar flares. From our sample, 90 per cent show clear rotational modulation likely due to the presence of a large, dominant star-spot and we use this to determine a rotational period for each star. Additionally, each low-mass star shows one or more flares in its light curve and using Gaia Data Release 2 parallaxes and SkyMapper magnitudes we can estimate the energy of the flares in the TESS band-pass. Overall, we have 1834 flares from the 167 low-mass stars with energies from 6.0 × 1029 to 2.4 × 1035 erg. We find none of the stars in our sample show any preference for rotational phase, suggesting the lack of a correlation between the large, dominant star-spot, and flare number. We discuss this finding in greater detail and present further scenarios to account for the origin of flares on these low-mass stars.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-445
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Early online date9 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2019


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