Flares in open clusters with K2⋆
I. M 45 (Pleiades), M 44 (Praesepe), and M 67
Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam, Germany
2 University of Washington, USA
Accepted: 14 December 2018
Context. The presence and strength of a stellar magnetic field and activity is rooted in a star’s fundamental parameters such as mass and age. Can flares serve as an accurate stellar “clock”?
Aims. To explore if we can quantify an activity-age relation in the form of a flaring-age relation, we measured trends in the flaring rates and energies for stars with different masses and ages.
Methods. We investigated the time-domain photometry provided by Kepler’s follow-up mission K2 and searched for flares in three solar metallicity open clusters with well-known ages, M 45 (0.125 Gyr), M 44 (0.63 Gyr), and M 67 (4.3 Gyr). We updated and employed the automated flare finding and analysis pipeline Appaloosa, originally designed for Kepler. We introduced a synthetic flare injection and recovery sub-routine to ascribe detection and energy recovery rates for flares in a broad energy range for each light curve.
Results. We collect a sample of 1761 stars, mostly late-K to mid-M dwarfs and found 751 flare candidates with energies ranging from 4 × 1032 erg to 6 × 1034 erg, of which 596 belong to M 45, 155 to M 44, and none to M 67. We find that flaring activity depends both on Teff, and age. But all flare frequency distributions have similar slopes with α ≈ 2.0−2.4, supporting a universal flare generation process. We discuss implications for the physical conditions under which flares occur, and how the sample’s metallicity and multiplicity affect our results.
Key words: methods: data analysis / stars: activity / stars: flare / stars: low-mass
The detected flare indices, the stellar parameters for M 44 and M 45, and a copy of Table 4 are available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (220.127.116.11) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/622/A133. We also published all flares we validated, and stellar parameters used for M 44 and M 45 in the same location.
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