K2 Ultracool Dwarfs Survey – VI. White light superflares observed on an L5 dwarf and flare rates of L dwarfs
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Type of Work10 pages
Citation of Original PublicationPaudel, R. R.; Gizis, J. E.; Mullan, D. J.; Schmidt, S. J.; Burgasser, A. J.; Williams, P. K. G.; K2 Ultracool Dwarfs Survey – VI. White light superflares observed on an L5 dwarf and flare rates of L dwarfs; Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 494, Issue 4, June 2020, Pages 5751–5760; https://academic.oup.com/mnras/article-abstract/494/4/5751/5831082?
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This article is published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2020 The Author(s), Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
KeplerK2 long cadence data are used to study white light flares in a sample of 45 L dwarfs. We identified 11 flares on 9 L dwarfs with equivalent durations of (1.3–198) h and total (UV/optical/IR) energies of ≥0.9 × 10³² erg. Two superflares with energies of >10³³ erg were detected on an L5 dwarf (VVV BD001): this is the coolest object so far on which flares have been identified. The larger superflare on this L5 dwarf has an energy of 4.6 × 10³⁴ erg and an amplitude of >300 times the photospheric level: so far, this is the largest amplitude flare detected by the Kepler/K2 mission. The next coolest star on which we identified a flare was an L2 dwarf: 2MASS J08585891+1804463. Combining the energies of all the flares which we have identified on 9 L dwarfs with the total observation time which was dedicated by Kepler to all 45 L dwarfs, we construct a composite flare frequency distribution (FFD). The FFD slope is quite shallow (−0.51 ± 0.17), consistent with earlier results reported by Paudel et al. for one particular L0 dwarf, for which the FFD slope was found to be −0.34. Using the composite FFD, we predict that, in early- and mid-L dwarfs, a superflare of energy 10³³ erg occurs every 2.4 yr and a superflare of energy 10³⁴ erg occurs every 7.9 yr. Analysis of our L dwarf flares suggests that magnetic fields of ≥0.13–1.3 kG are present on the stellar surface: such fields could suppress Type II radio bursts.