Volume 550, February 2013
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Published online||18 January 2013|
Variability of a stellar corona on a time scale of days
Evidence for abundance fractionation in an emerging coronal active region
1 Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik (MPE), Postfach, 1312 85741 Garching, Germany
2 School of Physics and Astronomy, The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, 69978 Tel-Aviv, Israel
3 Physics Department, Technion Israel Institute of Technology, 32000 Haifa, Israel
4 NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, 20771 Maryland, USA
Received: 3 October 2012
Accepted: 1 December 2012
Elemental abundance effects in active coronae have eluded our understanding for almost three decades, since the discovery of the first ionization potential (FIP) effect on the sun. The goal of this paper is to monitor the same coronal structures over a time interval of six days and resolve active regions on a stellar corona through rotational modulation. We report on four iso-phase X-ray spectroscopic observations of the RS CVn binary EI Eri with XMM-Newton, carried out approximately every two days, to match the rotation period of EI Eri. We present an analysis of the thermal and chemical structure of the EI Eri corona as it evolves over the six days. Although the corona is rather steady in its temperature distribution, the emission measure and FIP bias both vary and seem to be correlated. An active region, predating the beginning of the campaign, repeatedly enters into our view at the same phase as it rotates from beyond the stellar limb. As a result, the abundances tend slightly, but consistently, to increase for high FIP elements (an inverse FIP effect) with phase. We estimate the abundance increase of high FIP elements in the active region to be of about 75% over the coronal mean. This observed fractionation of elements in an active region on time scales of days provides circumstantial clues regarding the element enrichment mechanism of non-flaring stellar coronae.
Key words: stars: atmospheres / stars: coronae / stars: abundances / X-rays: stars / stars: individual: EI Eridani
© ESO, 2013
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