Hamburger Sternwarte, University of Hamburg, Gojenbergsweg 112, 21029 Hamburg, Germany
2 Zentrum für Astronomie, Mönchhofstraße 12-14, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
3 Institute of Astrophysics, University of Göttingen, Friedrich-Hund-Platz 1, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
4 XMM-Newton Science Operations Centre, European Space Agency (ESA/ESAC), 28691 Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain
Received: 9 June 2011
Accepted: 18 August 2011
Aims. We report simultaneous observations of the nearby flare star Proxima Centauri with VLT/UVES and XMM-Newton over three nights in March 2009. Our optical and X-ray observations cover the star’s quiescent state, as well as its flaring activity and allow us to probe the stellar atmospheric conditions from the photosphere into the chromosphere, and then the corona during its different activity stages.
Methods. Using the X-ray data, we investigate variations in coronal densities and abundances and infer loop properties for an intermediate-sized flare. The optical data are used to investigate the magnetic field and its possible variability, to construct an emission line list for the chromosphere, and use certain emission lines to construct physical models of Proxima Centauri’s chromosphere.
Results. We report the discovery of a weak optical forbidden Fe xiii line at 3388 Å during the more active states of Proxima Centauri. For the intermediate flare, we find two secondary flare events that may originate in neighbouring loops, and discuss the line asymmetries observed during this flare in H i, He i, and Ca ii lines. The high time-resolution in the Hα line highlights strong temporal variations in the observed line asymmetries, which re-appear during a secondary flare event. We also present theoretical modelling with the stellar atmosphere code PHOENIX to construct flaring chromospheric models.
Key words: stars: activity / stars: magnetic field / stars: chromospheres / stars: coronae / stars: late-type / stars: individual: Proxima Centauri
Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory, Paranal, Chile, 082.D-0953A and on observations obtained with XMM-Newton, an ESA science mission with instruments and contributions directly funded by ESA Member states and NASA.
Full Table 6 is only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (188.8.131.52) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/534/A133
© ESO, 2011