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The CARMENES search for exoplanets around M dwarfs: Radial-velocity variations of active stars in visual-channel spectra

AuthorsTal-Or, L.; Zechmeister, M.; Reiners, A.; Jeffers, S. V.; Schöfer, P.; Quirrenbach, A.; Amado, Pedro J. ; Ribas, Ignasi ; Caballero, J. A.; Aceituno, J.; Bauer, F. F.; Béjar, V. J. S.; Czesla, S.; Dreizler, S.; Fuhrmeister, B.; Hatzes, A. P.; Johnson, E. N.; Kürster, M.; Lafarga, M.; Montes, D. Morales, J. C.; Reffert, S.; Sadegi, S.; Seifert, W.; Shulyak, D.
KeywordsStars: activity
Stars: late-type
Stars: rotation
Techniques: radial velocities
Issue Date2018
PublisherEDP Sciences
CitationAstronomy and Astrophysics 614: A122 (2018)
AbstractContext. Previous simulations predicted the activity-induced radial-velocity (RV) variations of M dwarfs to range from ∼1 cm s to ∼1 km s, depending on various stellar and activity parameters. Aims. We investigate the observed relations between RVs, stellar activity, and stellar parameters of M dwarfs by analyzing CARMENES high-resolution visual-channel spectra (0.5-1μm), which were taken within the CARMENES RV planet survey during its first 20 months of operation. Methods. During this time, 287 of the CARMENES-sample stars were observed at least five times. From each spectrum we derived a relative RV and a measure of chromospheric Hα emission. In addition, we estimated the chromatic index (CRX) of each spectrum, which is a measure of the RV wavelength dependence. Results. Despite having a median number of only 11 measurements per star, we show that the RV variations of the stars with RV scatter of >10 m s and a projected rotation velocity v sin i > 2 km s are caused mainly by activity. We name these stars >active RV-loud stars> and find their occurrence to increase with spectral type: from ∼3% for early-type M dwarfs (M0.0-2.5 V) through ∼30% for mid-type M dwarfs (M3.0-5.5 V) to >50% for late-type M dwarfs (M6.0-9.0 V). Their RV-scatter amplitude is found to be correlated mainly with v sin i. For about half of the stars, we also find a linear RV-CRX anticorrelation, which indicates that their activity-induced RV scatter is lower at longer wavelengths. For most of them we can exclude a linear correlation between RV and Hα emission. Conclusions. Our results are in agreement with simulated activity-induced RV variations in M dwarfs. The RV variations of most active RV-loud M dwarfs are likely to be caused by dark spots on their surfaces, which move in and out of view as the stars rotate. © ESO 2018.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201732362
Identifiersdoi: 10.1051/0004-6361/201732362
issn: 1432-0746
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