EDP Sciences
Free access
Issue
A&A
Volume 394, Number 2, November I 2002
Page(s) 505 - 515
Section Formation, structure and evolution of stars
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20021179


A&A 394, 505-515 (2002)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20021179

Magnetic activity in the young solar analog LQ Hydrae

I. Active longitudes and cycles
S. V. Berdyugina1, J. Pelt1, 2 and I. Tuominen1

1  Astronomy Division, PO Box 3000, 90014 University of Oulu, Finland
2  Tartu Observatory, Tõravere, 61602 Estonia

(Received 23 May 2002 / Accepted 29 July 2002 )

Abstract
We present the first evidence that a single active dwarf of solar type can show a long-lived, nonaxisymmetric spot distribution - active longitudes on opposite hemispheres, similar to evolved, rapidly rotating RS CVn-type binary stars. We analyse new as well as published photometric observations of the young active dwarf LQ Hya, spanning almost 20 years. We find that activity of the star has three activity cycles: a 5.2-yr "flip-flop" cycle, a 7.7-yr period in the amplitude modulation of the brightness and an approximately 15-yr period in variations of the mean brightness. The two shorter cycles are related to the alternating active longitudes and are similar to cycles observed in RS CVn-type stars. The 15-yr cycle reflects periodic changes of the mean spottedness of the star and resembles the solar 11-year cycle. The spot rotation period (about 1.6 days) changes during the 15-yr cycle, indicating the presence of small differential rotation. The lengths of the three cycles are related as 3:2:1, with the repetition of the spot configuration after 15 years. We discuss the possibility that the observed spot cycles represent two different magnetic dynamo modes operating in LQ Hya: an axisymmetric mode, as in the Sun, and a nonaxisymmetric higher order mode with two cycles in spot patterns. Our results suggest that young stars exhibit their cycles in spot distribution, as seen in LQ Hya. This is in contrast to the conclusion based on the analysis of $\ion{Ca}{ii}$ H&K emission from plages. The results suggest also that the Vaughan-Preston gap represents a transition from a multiple-mode dynamo to a single-mode dynamo.


Key words: stars: activity -- stars: magnetic fields -- stars: starspots

Offprint request: S. V. Berdyugina, sveta.berdyugina@oulu.fi

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