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Monitoring the M-dwarf Host Stars of TESS Exoplanet Candidates: Stellar Flares and Habitability

Presentation #305.05 in the session Stars, Cool Dwarfs, Brown Dwarfs — iPoster Session.

Published onJun 29, 2022
Monitoring the M-dwarf Host Stars of TESS Exoplanet Candidates: Stellar Flares and Habitability

In the search for life beyond our solar system, the study of M-dwarfs has become increasingly important due to their unique characteristics including their small size which allows for exoplanet detection, their stellar flares which could potentially trigger prebiotic life on nearby exoplanets, and their long lifespans which could provide the conditions necessary to foster prebiotic life and the development of more complex organisms over time. Flare rate is a critical factor in determining the habitability of the exoplanet due to its potential to damage or incubate the surfaces of the exoplanets near the M-dwarf stars. This project aims to characterize the stellar flare conditions of a certain subset of M dwarfs which can then be used to determine the star’s potential impact on the companion exoplanets in the system. Each of the candidates has been studied by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) which provided the photometric data for this analysis. The 10 TESS candidates that are being studied were selected using the Earth Similarity Confidence Metric (ESCM) as proposed by Bonney et al. (2019). The candidates in this list are components of systems that were determined to be similar to that of the Earth. By utilizing this prioritized list of promising candidates, the direction of future research on M-dwarf systems can be done in a more strategic and efficient manner in an effort to aid in the identification of an Earth-like, habitable exoplanet more quickly. The primary Python package this is being used to conduct this ongoing analysis is called Lightkurve. These findings will greatly add to the body of knowledge of M-dwarfs which will, in turn, aid us in our journey to potentially discover life beyond our Solar System.

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