Surprisingly different starspot distributions on the near equal-mass equal-rotation-rate stars in the M dwarf binary GJ 65 AB

J. R. Barnes, S. V. Jeffers, C. A. Haswell, H. R. A. Jones, D. Shulyak, Ya V. Pavlenko, J. S. Jenkins

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We aim to understand how stellar parameters such as mass and rotation impact the distribution of starspots on the stellar surface. To this purpose, we have used Doppler imaging to reconstruct the surface brightness distributions of three fully convective M dwarfs with similar rotation rates. We secured high cadence spectral time series observations of the 5.5 AU separation binary GJ 65, comprising GJ 65A (M5.5V, Prot = 0.24 d) and GJ 65B (M6V, Prot = 0.23 d). We also present new observations of GJ 791.2A (M4.5V, Prot = 0.31 d). Observations of each star were made on two nights with UVES, covering a wavelength range from 0.64 - 1.03 microns. The time series spectra reveal multiple line distortions, which we interpret as cool starspots and which are persistent on both nights suggesting stability on the timescale of 3 days. Spots are recovered with resolutions down to 8.3 degs at the equator. The global spot distributions for GJ 791.2A are similar to observations made a year earlier. Similar high latitude and circumpolar spot structure is seen on GJ791.2A and GJ 65A. However, they are surprisingly absent on GJ 65B, which instead reveals more extensive, larger, spots concentrated at intermediate latitudes. All three stars show small amplitude latitude-dependent rotation that is consistent with solid body rotation. We compare our measurements of differential rotation with previous Doppler imaging studies and discuss the results in the wider context of other observational estimates and recent theoretical predictions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberstx1482
Pages (from-to)811-823
Number of pages13
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Early online date20 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2017


  • astro-ph.SR


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