Astronomers detect superflare on an ultra-cool dwarf star

A comparison between Sun and an ultra-cool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1

Astronomers from China and France have detected a new superflare from an ultra-cool dwarf star. The star is called as SDSS J013333.08+003223.7. The detection was made using Xinglong observatory’s Ground-based Wide Angle Cameras (GWAC).

The newly detected event has been named GWAC 181229A and it seems to be one of the most powerful superflare detection ever made on ultra-cool stars.

A team of scientists headed by Li-Ping Xin from National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) reported the discovery of this superflare from an ultra-cool dwarf located at the distance of about 471 light years from us.

As per scientists, the new superflare had a bolometric energy between 55.6/92.5 decillion ergs- making it one of the most energetic flares from UCDs. Superflare’s magnetic strength was evaluated to be at a level of 3.6/4.7 kG.

Ultra-cool dwarf stars (UCD)s are stellar/sub stellar object of spectral class M with effective temperatures under 2,430 °C. Their masses don’t exceed 0.3 solar masses.

Generally, they are weak in chromospheric emission and dim in X-rays. Despite, sometimes they display flaring activity in various wavelengths. TRAPPIST-1 is one of the best known examples of such an star.

Studying a UCD flare will shed light on how these events originate, as well their interactions with the surfaces and magnetic fields of ultra-cool dwarfs.

Ground-based Wide Angle Cameras (GWAC) is one the observatory that could help scientists in detecting superflares on UCDs.

GWAC is one of the ground facilities of the planned Space Variable Objects Monitor (SVOM) satellite. It is a joint mission of France and China with primary goal of detection of gamma ray bursts (GRBs).

For more details: A ΔR∼9.5 mag Super Flare of An Ultracool Star Detected by SVOM/GWAC System

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