Long-term magnetic activity of a sample of M-dwarf stars from the HARPS program
Centro de Astrofísica, Universidade do Porto,
Rua das Estrelas,
2 Departamento de Física e Astronomia, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade do Porto, Portugal
3 UJF-Grenoble 1 / CNRS-INSU, Institut de Planétologie et d’Astrophysique de Grenoble (IPAG) UMR 5274, 38041 Grenoble, France
4 Observatoire de Genève, Université de Genève, 51 Ch. des Maillettes, 1290 Versoix, Switzerland
Received: 6 December 2011
Accepted: 7 February 2012
Owing to their low mass and luminosity, M dwarfs are ideal targets if one hopes to find low-mass planets similar to Earth using the radial velocity (RV) method. However, stellar magnetic cycles could add noise or even mimic the RV signal of a long-period companion. We extend our previous study of the correlation between activity cycles and long-term RV variations for K dwarfs to the lower-end of the main sequence. Our objective is to detect any correlations between long-term activity variations and the observed RV of a sample of M dwarfs. We use a sample of 27 M-dwarfs with a median observational timespan of 5.9 years. The cross-correlation function (CCF) with its parameters RV, bisector inverse slope (BIS), full width at half maximum (FWHM), and contrast are computed from the HARPS spectrum. The activity index is derived using the Na i D doublet. These parameters are compared with the activity level of the stars to search for correlations. We detect RV variations up to ~5 m s-1 that we can attribute to activity cycle effects. However, only 36% of the stars with long-term activity variability appear to have had their RV affected by magnetic cycles, on the typical timescale of ~6 years. Therefore, we suggest a careful analysis of activity data when searching for extrasolar planets using long-timespan RV data.
Key words: planets and satellites: detection / stars: activity / stars: late-type / techniques: radial velocities / techniques: spectroscopic
Based on observations made with the HARPS instrument on the ESO 3.6-m telescope at La Silla Observatory under programme ID 072.C-0488(E).
Tables with the data used for Figs. A.1–A.27 are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (18.104.22.168) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/541/A9
Appendix A is available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2012