Date of Graduation
Bachelor of Science
Committee Member/Second Reader
McComas, William F.
Committee Member/Third Reader
In the search for life beyond our solar system, the study of M-dwarfs has become increasingly important due to their unique characteristics including their small size, flaring capabilities, and long lifespans. Their small size allows for exoplanet detection due to observable gravitational interactions, and the stellar flares could potentially trigger prebiotic life on exoplanets in the system. Lastly, their long lifespans may provide the conditions necessary to foster prebiotic life and the development of more complex organisms over time. Flare rate is a critical factor in determining the habitability of the exoplanet due to its potential to damage or incubate the surfaces of the exoplanets near the M-dwarf stars. This project aims to characterize the stellar flare conditions of a certain subset of M dwarfs which can then be used to determine the star’s potential impact on any companion exoplanets in the system. Each of the candidates has been studied by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) which provided the photometric data for this analysis. The 10 TESS candidates were selected using the Earth Similarity Confidence Metric (ESCM) as proposed by Bonney et al. (2019). The candidate stars in this list are the host stars of system with a potential planet in orbit that appears to be similar to Earth. By utilizing this prioritized list of promising candidates, the direction of future research on M-dwarf systems can be done in a more strategic and efficient manner to aid in the identification of an Earth-like, habitable exoplanet more quickly. The primary Python package used to obtain the data is Lightkurve while the primary modeling uses emcee. This paper presents a complete analysis of a confirmed flare found on the star found in the system TIC 29962054. These findings will greatly add to the body of knowledge of flaring behaviors of M-dwarf stars which will, in turn, aid to discover life beyond our Solar System.
M dwarfs, flares, light curves, habitability, TESS Survey, astrophysics, Service Learning
Lieber, A. (2022). Monitoring the M-dwarf Host Stars of TESS Exoplanet Candidates: Stellar Flares and Habitability. Physics Undergraduate Honors Theses Retrieved from https://scholarworks.uark.edu/physuht/10
Educational Methods Commons, Other Astrophysics and Astronomy Commons, Other Computer Engineering Commons, Science and Mathematics Education Commons, Secondary Education Commons, Service Learning Commons, Stars, Interstellar Medium and the Galaxy Commons