Long-term starspot evolution, activity cycle, and orbital period variation of V711 Tauri (HR 1099)
INAF – Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania, via S. Sofia, 78 – 95123 Catania, Italy e-mail: [nlanza;piluso;smessina;gcutispoto]@oact.inaf.it
2 Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia dell'Università degli Studi di Catania, via S. Sofia, 78 – 95123 Catania, Italy
Accepted: 31 March 2006
The long-term optical photometry of V711 Tau (HR 1099) from 1975 to 2001 is analysed with different techniques to provide information on the activity of this widely studied RS CVn-type binary. Pooled variance analysis gives a characteristic timescale of evolution for the photospheric pattern of starspots of the order of 100–200 days, while periodogram analysis of seasonal photometric data reveals that the rotational modulation period is d, without significant changes during the 26 analysed years. Considering subsets of the entire data sequence along which the rotational modulation of the optical flux stays stable, a set of 66 light curves is obtained. They are modelled by means of inversion techniques based on Maximum Entropy and Tikhonov regularizations to derive the distributions in longitude and the total amount of the spotted area on the more luminous K1 IV component that dominates the optical variability of the system. An extensive comparison with published Doppler Imaging maps shows the advantages and drawbacks of inversion techniques based solely on optical photometry. The large-scale structure of the longitudinal distribution of the spotted area is correctly reproduced, although individual starspots revealed by Doppler Imaging cannot be detected because of the limited spatial resolution of the photometric imaging. On the other hand, the variation of the total spotted area is best reconstructed from optical photometry and shows an activity cycle with a period of yr, upon which a short-term modulation might be superposed having variable amplitude and phase and a mean duration of approximately 3–5 years. The distributions of the spotted area versus longitude show the presence of one dominant preferential longitude from 1975 to 1989; afterwards, two preferential longitudes with comparable spotted areas are detected. Their migration rates with respect to the orbital reference frame are variable versus time, possibly as a consequence of a variable drift rate of the respective non-axisymmetric dynamo modes. The variation of the orbital period of the system appears to be correlated with the magnetic activity of the K1 IV component. Specifically, the decrease of the orbital period that occurred around 1990 coincides with a re-configuration of the stellar magnetic field, as indicated by the simultaneous variation of its different proxies. In combination with previous studies, these results allow us to discriminate among different theoretical models proposed to explain the connection between magnetic activity and orbital dynamics.
Key words: stars: activity / stars: starspots / stars: magnetic fields / stars: late-type / stars: binaries: spectroscopic / stars: individual: V711 Tauri / stars: individual: HR 1099
© ESO, 2006