EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 487, Number 3, September I 2008
Page(s) 1163 - 1170
Section Planets and planetary systems
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:200809753
Published online 16 June 2008

A&A 487, 1163-1170 (2008)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:200809753

Hot Jupiters and stellar magnetic activity

A. F. Lanza

INAF - Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania, via S. Sofia 78, 95123 Catania, Italy
    e-mail: nuccio.lanza@oact.inaf.it

Received 10 March 2008 / Accepted 19 May 2008

Context. Recent observations suggest that stellar magnetic activity may be influenced by the presence of a close-by giant planet. Specifically, chromospheric hot spots rotating in phase with the planet orbital motion have been observed during some seasons in a few stars harbouring hot Jupiters. The spot leads the subplanetary point by a typical amount of ~ $ 60^{\circ}{-}70^{\circ}$, with the extreme case of $\upsilon$ And where the angle is ~ $ 170^{\circ}$.
Aims. The interaction between the star and the planet is described considering the reconnection between the stellar coronal field and the magnetic field of the planet. Reconnection events produce energetic particles that, moving along magnetic field lines, impact onto the stellar chromosphere giving rise to a localized hot spot.
Methods. A simple magnetohydrostatic model is introduced to describe the coronal magnetic field of the star connecting its surface to the orbiting planet. The field is assumed to be axisymmetric around the rotation axis of the star and its configuration is more general than a linear force-free field.
Results. With a suitable choice of the free parameters, the model can explain the phase differences between the hot spots and the planets observed in HD 179949 , $\upsilon$ And , HD 189733 , and $\tau$ Bootis , as well as their visibility modulation on the orbital period and seasonal time scales. The possible presence of cool spots associated with the planets in $\tau$ Boo and HD 192263 cannot be explained by the present model. However, we speculate about the possibility that reconnection events in the corona may influence subphotospheric dynamo action in those stars producing localized photospheric (and chromospheric) activity migrating in phase with their planets.

Key words: stars: planetary systems -- stars: activity -- stars: late-type -- stars: magnetic fields -- stars: general

© ESO 2008