Vol 21, No 4

A study of the global magnetic activity of the star Kepler-17 using light curve inversion with bipartite regularization

Tao Luo, Yan-Yan Liang, Wing-Huen Ip, Zhi-Hao Huang, Xin-Xu Lin


Abstract A new method of light curve inversion with bipartite regularization (LIBR), which is complementary to the previous treatments by Bonomo and Lanza and Estrela and Valio, is used to reconstruct the physical properties of star spots on the solar-type star Kepler-17 by using the full Q1- Q17 data set. The Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method was applied to find the best profile of the reconstructed surface. The known value of the rotation inclination of Kepler-17 allows the generation of a star spot model in a sequence of stellar rotation with a period of 12.26 d. Because of the nature of the light curve inversion, the spot model is limited to the equatorial region. We also investigated the starspot lifetimes of Kepler-17 utilizing the MCMC method. Combined with the LIBR inversion results, it was found that the star spots typically last from one to several stellar rotations. From the time evolution of the spot size, a magnetic cycle period of 437 d can be derived. This value is comparatively shorter than the solar cycle which might be a consequence of the younger age (∼ 1.78 Gyr) of Kepler-17. The light curve of Kepler-17 is characterized by the presence of large-amplitude variation caused by star spots but no superflare activity. An interesting possibility is that the magnetic energy stored in the star spot regions could have been constantly dissipated by electrodynamic interaction between the central star and the hot Jupiter, Kepler-17b, via a lower-level energy release process.


Keywords stars: activity — stars: imaging — stars: spots

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