NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009B-0280

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Proposal Information for 2009B-0280


PI: John Wisniewski, University of Washington, wisniewski@astro.washington.edu
Address: Astronomy Department, Box 351580, U.W., Seattle, WA 98195, USA

CoI: Adam Kowalski, University of Washington
CoI: Sarah Schmidt, University of Washington
CoI: Suzanne Hawley, University of Washington
CoI: Praveen Kundurthy, University of Washington

Title: M Dwarf Flares: Exoplanet Implications

Abstract: Low mass M dwarfs are attractive stars for exoplanet transit research as their low luminosities and small stellar radii could enable detection of super-Earths residing in their habitable zones using existing technology. Future IR facilities such as JWST will undoubtedly attempt to characterize these systems through detailed transit observations. M dwarfs can exhibit highly energetic flare events which cause <0.1 to 6.0 magnitude flux enhancements in the optical U-band, which is significantly higher than the predicted transit depths of super- Earths (~0.005 magnitude flux decrease). While Solar flares have been observed to cause IR continuum enhancements (Xu et al 2006); surprisingly, it is not known whether energetic flares associated with M dwarfs similarly induce IR variability. We propose to contemporaneously monitor the optical & IR flux of two M dwarfs known to regularly flare, to determine what effect flares could have on future IR characterization studies of M dwarf exoplanets.


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009B-0280

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