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Chasing Post-Superflare Exoaurorae with SOAR and the Evryscope Fast Transient Engine

Presentation #305.04 in the session Stars, Cool Dwarfs, Brown Dwarfs — iPoster Session.

Published onJun 29, 2022
Chasing Post-Superflare Exoaurorae with SOAR and the Evryscope Fast Transient Engine

M-dwarf stars are known for their small sizes, tepid temperatures, and frequent flaring. Many of these stars also host habitable-zone rocky planets. Superflares — those flares with energy of 1033 erg or greater — are not uncommon for M-dwarfs, and can have deleterious effects on Earth-like planets. For Sun-like and possibly cooler stars, high-energy flares are also linked to coronal mass ejections (CMEs), outflows of charged particles that can drive auroral emission at distinct wavelengths as they interact with atoms in a planetary atmosphere. Consequently, searching for CMEs accompanying M-dwarf superflares can enable the direct detection of an Earth-like atmosphere by exciting intense auroral emission from oxygen. However, detecting such emission requires the observer to know which stars have flared within the past day, necessitating monitoring of the whole sky to have the best chance of observing these events. The Evryscopes are all-sky, gigapixel-scale telescope arrays at Mount Laguna Observatory and Cerro-Tololo Inter-American Observatory; coupled with the Evryscope Fast Transient Engine (EFTE), which scans Evryscope images in real time for transient phenomena, these systems can identify superflares across the entire sky as they begin and flag them for immediate spectroscopic follow-up. I will discuss my work placing limits on exoauroral emission, using EFTE to identify superflares that may be accompanied by CMEs, and performing spectroscopic follow-up of flaring targets with the Goodman spectrograph on the 4.1-m SOAR telescope.


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