Scattering linear polarization of late-type active stars
Kiepenheuer-Institute für Sonnenphysik,
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Accepted: 29 December 2017
Context. Many active stars are covered in spots, much more so than the Sun, as indicated by spectroscopic and photometric observations. It has been predicted that star spots induce non-zero intrinsic linear polarization by breaking the visible stellar disk symmetry. Although small, this effect might be useful for star spot studies, and it is particularly significant for a future polarimetric atmosphere characterization of exoplanets orbiting active host stars.
Aims. Using models for a center-to-limb variation of the intensity and polarization in presence of continuum scattering and adopting a simplified two-temperature photosphere model, we aim to estimate the intrinsic linear polarization for late-type stars of different gravity, effective temperature, and spottedness.
Methods. We developed a code that simulates various spot configurations or uses arbitrary surface maps, performs numerical disk integration, and builds Stokes parameter phase curves for a star over a rotation period for a selected wavelength. It allows estimating minimum and maximum polarization values for a given set of stellar parameters and spot coverages.
Results. Based on assumptions about photosphere-to-spot temperature contrasts and spot size distributions, we calculate the linear polarization for late-type stars with Teff = 3500 K–6000 K, log g = 1.0–5.0, using the plane-parallel and spherical atmosphere models. Employing random spot surface distribution, we analyze the relation between spot coverage and polarization and determine the influence of different input parameters on results. Furthermore, we consider spot configurations with polar spots and active latitudes and longitudes.
Key words: starspots / stars: activity / polarization / stars: late-type / stars: individual: XX Tri
© ESO 2018