M dwarfs in Sloan Digital Sky Survey stripe 82: photometric light curves and flare rate analysis.
KOWALSKI A.F., HAWLEY S.L., HILTON E.J., BECKER A.C., WEST A.A., BOCHANSKI J.J. and SESAR B.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present a flare rate analysis of 50,130 M dwarf light curves in Sloan Digital Sky Survey Stripe 82. We identified 271 flares using a customized variability index to search ∼2.5 million photometric observations for flux increases in the u and g bands. Every image of a flaring observation was examined by eye and with a point-spread function-matching and image subtraction tool to guard against false positives. Flaring is found to be strongly correlated with the appearance of Hα in emission in the quiet spectrum. Of the 99 flare stars that have spectra, we classify eight as relatively inactive. The flaring fraction is found to increase strongly in stars with redder colors during quiescence, which can be attributed to the increasing flare visibility and increasing active fraction for redder stars. The flaring fraction is strongly correlated with|Z| distance such that most stars that flare are within 300 pc of the Galactic plane. We derive flare u-band luminosities and find that the most luminous flares occur on the earlier-type m dwarfs. Our best estimate of the lower limit on the flaring rate (averaged over Stripe 82) for flares with Δu ≥ 0.7 mag on stars with u < 22 is 1.3 flares/hr/deg2 but can vary significantly with the line of sight.