Volume 635, March 2020
|Number of page(s)||8|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||10 March 2020|
Stellar magnetic activity and the butterfly diagram of Kepler-63
CRAAM, Mackenzie Presbyterian University, Rua da Consolacao, 896 Sao Paulo, Brazil
Accepted: 19 November 2019
Context. The study of young solar-type stars is fundamental for better understanding the magnetic activity of the Sun. Most commonly, this activity manifests itself in the form of spots and faculae. As a planet in transit crosses in front of its host star, a dark spot on the stellar surface may be occulted, causing a detectable variation in the light curve. Kepler-63 is a young solar-like star with an age of only 210 Myr that exhibits photometric variations compatible with spot signatures. Because the planet that orbits it is in an almost polar orbit, different latitudes of the star can be probed by the method of spot transit mapping.
Aims. The goal of this work is to characterise the spots of Kepler-63 and thus decipher the behaviour of the young Sun. Because planetary orbit is highly oblique, the latitudinal distribution and thus the differential rotation of the spots may be determined.
Methods. A total of 150 transits of Kepler-63b were observed in the short-cadence light curve, corresponding to a total duration of about four years. Each transit light curve was fit by a model that simulates planetary transits and allows including starspots on the surface of the host star. This enables the physical characterisation of the spot size, intensity, and location. We determined the spot position in a reference frame that rotates with the star, and thus obtained the latitudinal distribution of the spots.
Results. We fit a total of 297 spots and determined their sizes, intensities, and positions. The longitude and latitude of the spots were calculated in a reference frame that rotated with the star. The latitude distribution of spots exhibits a bimodality with a lack of spots around 34°. Moreover, the spot sizes tend to be larger close to the equator, but decrease toward the latitude distribution gap, after which they again increase toward the poles. High-latitude spots dominate the magnetic cycle of Kepler-63. For a mean stellar rotation period of 5.400 d, 59 spots were found at approximately the same longitude and latitude on a later transit. Some of these spots were detected eight transits later. This shows that the lifetimes of spots can be at least 75 d.
Conclusions. The geometry of the Kepler-63 system, enabled us to build a starspot butterfly diagram, similar to that of sunspots. It was also possible to infer the differential rotation of Kepler-63 from the spots at different latitudes. This star was found to rotate almost rigidly with a period of 5.400 d and a relative shear close to 0.01% for latitudes lower than 34°, whereas the high latitudes do not follow a well-behaved pattern.
Key words: stars: activity / stars: late-type / starspots / planetary systems / techniques: photometric
© ESO 2020
Current usage metrics show cumulative count of Article Views (full-text article views including HTML views, PDF and ePub downloads, according to the available data) and Abstracts Views on Vision4Press platform.
Data correspond to usage on the plateform after 2015. The current usage metrics is available 48-96 hours after online publication and is updated daily on week days.
Initial download of the metrics may take a while.