Letter to the Editor
Simultaneous optical and X-ray observations of a giant flare on the ultracool dwarf LP 412-31
INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo, Piazza del Parlamento 1, 90134 Palermo, Italy e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Hamburger Sternwarte, Gojenbergsweg 112, 21029 Hamburg, Germany
Accepted: 18 October 2006
Cool stars are known to produce flares probably as a result of the magnetic reconnection in their outer atmospheres. We present simultaneous XMM-Newton optical V band and X-ray observations of the M8 dwarf LP 412-31. During the observation a giant flare occurred, with an optical amplitude of 6 mag and total energy of erg in both the V band and soft X-rays. Both flare onset and flare decay were completely covered in both wavebands with a temporal resolution of 20 s, allowing determination of the flare time scales, as well as a study of the temperature evolution of the flaring plasma. The data are consistent with an impulsive energy release followed by radiative cooling without any further energy release during the decay phase. Our analysis suggests that the optical flare originates from a small fraction of the surface of LP 412-31, while the characteristic scale size of the flaring X-ray plasma is of the order of the stellar radius or larger. The absence of any small-scale variability in the light curve suggests a non-standard flare number energy distribution.
Key words: X-rays: stars / stars: activity / stars: flare / stars: low-mass, brown dwarfs / stars: coronae / stars: individual: LP 412-31
© ESO, 2006