MORRIS B.M., AGOL E., DAVENPORT J.R.A. and HAWLEY S.L.
Abstract (from CDS):
The M8V star TRAPPIST-1 hosts seven roughly Earth-sized planets and is a promising target for exoplanet characterization. Kepler/K2 Campaign 12 observations of TRAPPIST-1 in the optical show an apparent rotational modulation with a 3.3-day period, though that rotational signal is not readily detected in the Spitzer light curve at 4.5 µm. If the rotational modulation is due to starspots, persistent dark spots can be excluded from the lack of photometric variability in the Spitzer light curve. We construct a photometric model for rotational modulation due to photospheric bright spots on TRAPPIST-1 that is consistent with both the Kepler and Spitzer light curves. The maximum-likelihood model with three spots has typical spot sizes of Rspot/R* ≃ 0.004 at temperature Tspot >= 5300 ± 200 K. We also find that large flares are observed more often when the brightest spot is facing the observer, suggesting a correlation between the position of the bright spots and flare events. In addition, these flares may occur preferentially when the spots are increasing in brightness, which suggests that the 3.3-day periodicity may not be a rotational signal, but rather a characteristic timescale of active regions.