NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2011A-0106

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Proposal Information for 2011A-0106


PI: John Wisniewski, University of Washington, jwisnie@u.washington.edu
Address: Astronomy Department, Box 351580, Seattle, WA 98195, USA

CoI: Adam Kowalski, University of Washington
CoI: Sarah Schmidt, University of Washington
CoI: Praveen Kundurthy, University of Washington
CoI: Suzanne Hawley, University of Washington
CoI: Ben Tofflemire, University of Washington
CoI: Jon Holtzman, New Mexico State University

Title: M Dwarf Flares: Exoplanet Implications

Abstract: 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. M dwarf flare events can 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 infrared continuum enhancements (Xu et al 2006); surprisingly, it is not known whether energetic flares associated with M dwarfs can induce IR variability in filters relevant to future transiting exoplanet characterization studies (e.g. using JWST). We propose to monitor the optical & IR flux of a M dwarf known to regularly flare, to determine what effect flares could have on future IR characterization studies of M dwarf exoplanets. This proposal represents a resubmission of our approved 2009B program, which lost >80% of its on-sky time due to Tropical Storm Olaf (but did demonstrate the ability to achieve 5 milli-mag IR photometry with the KPNO 2.1m). We request 5 nights in 2011A to complete our science goals.


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