Constraining the Physical Properties of Stellar Coronal Mass Ejections with Coronal Dimming: Application to Far-ultraviolet Data of ϵ Eridani

R. O.Parke Loyd, James Paul Mason, Meng Jin, Evgenya L. Shkolnik, Kevin France, Allison Youngblood, Jackie Villadsen, Christian Schneider, Adam C. Schneider, Joe Llama, Tahina Ramiaramanantsoa, Tyler Richey-Yowell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are a prominent contributor to solar system space weather and might have impacted the Sun’s early angular momentum evolution. A signal diagnostic of CMEs on the Sun is coronal dimming: a drop in coronal emission, tied to the mass of the CME, that is the direct result of removing emitting plasma from the corona. We present the results of a coronal dimming analysis of Fe xii 1349 Å and Fe xxi 1354 Å emission from ϵ Eridani (ϵ Eri), a young K2 dwarf, with archival far-ultraviolet observations by the Hubble Space Telescope’s Cosmic Origins Spectrograph. Following a flare in 2015 February, ϵ Eri’s Fe xxi emission declined by 81 ± 5%. Although enticing, a scant 3.8 minutes of preflare observations allows for the possibility that the Fe xxi decline was the decay of an earlier, unseen flare. Dimming nondetections following each of three prominent flares constrain the possible mass of ejected Fe xii-emitting (1 MK) plasma to less than a few × 1015 g. This implies that CMEs ejecting this much or more 1 MK plasma occur less than a few times per day on ϵ Eri. On the Sun, 1015 g CMEs occur once every few days. For ϵ Eri, the mass-loss rate due to CME-ejected 1 MK plasma could be < 0.6 M ̇ ⊙ , well below the star’s estimated 30 M ̇ ⊙ mass-loss rate (wind + CMEs). The order-of-magnitude formalism we developed for these mass estimates can be broadly applied to coronal dimming observations of any star.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number170
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume936
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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