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Multi-waveband detection of quasi-periodic pulsations in a stellar flare on EK Draconis observed by XMM-Newton

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journal contribution
posted on 14.10.2019, 12:01 by A-M Broomhall, AEL Thomas, CE Pugh, JP Pye, SR Rosen
Context. Quasi-periodic pulsations (QPPs) are time variations in the energy emission during a flare that are observed on both the Sun and other stars and thus have the potential to link the physics of solar and stellar flares. Aims. We characterise the QPPs detected in an X-ray flare on the solar analogue, EK Draconis, which was observed by XMM-Newton. Methods. We used wavelet and autocorrelation techniques to identify the QPPs in a detrended version of the flare. We also fitted a model to the flare based on an exponential decay combined with a decaying sinusoid. The flare is examined in multiple energy bands. Results. A statistically significant QPP is observed in the X-ray energy band of 0.2–12.0 keV with a periodicity of 76 ± 2 min. When this energy band is split, a statistically significant QPP is observed in the low-energy band (0.2–1.0 keV) with a periodicity of 73 ± 2 min and in the high-energy band (1.0–12.0 keV) with a periodicity of 82 ± 2 min. When fitting a model to the time series the phases of the signals are also found to be significantly different in the two energy bands (with a difference of 1.8 ± 0.2 rad) and the high-energy band is found to lead the low-energy band. Furthermore, the first peak in the cross-correlation between the detrended residuals of the low- and high-energy bands is offset from zero by more than 3σ (4.1 ± 1.3 min). Both energy bands produce statistically significant regions in the wavelet spectrum, whose periods are consistent with those listed above. However, the peaks are broad in both the wavelet and global power spectra, with the wavelet showing evidence for a drift in period with time, and the difference in period obtained is not significant. The offset in the first peak in the cross-correlation of the detrended residuals of two non-congruent energy bands (0.5−1.0 keV and 4.5−12.0 keV) is found to be even larger (10 ± 2 min). However, the signal-to-noise in the higher of these two energy-bands, covering the range 4.5−12.0 keV, is low. Conclusions. The presence of QPPs similar to those observed on the Sun, and other stars, suggests that the physics of flares on this young solar analogue is similar to the physics of solar flares. It is possible that the differences in the QPPs detected in the two energy bands are seen because each band observes a different plasma structure. However, the phase difference, which differs more significantly between the two energy bands than the period, could also be explained in terms of the Neupert effect. This suggests that QPPs are caused by the modulation of the propagation speeds of charged particles.


A.M.B. & A.T. thank the Royal Astronomical Society for funding AT’s summer project. A.M.B. acknowledges support from the Royal Society International Exchanges grant IEC\R2\170056 and the International Space Science Institute for the team “Quasi-periodic Pulsations in Stellar Flares: a Tool for Studying the Solar-Stellar Connection”. This work has made use of data from the European Space Agency (ESA) mission Gaia (https://www.cosmos.esa.int/gaia), processed by the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium (DPAC, https://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/ gaia/dpac/consortium). Funding for the DPAC has been provided by national institutions, in particular the institutions participating in the Gaia Multilateral Agreement.



Astronomy and Astrophysics, 2019, 629, A147

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/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING/Department of Physics and Astronomy


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Astronomy and Astrophysics


EDP Sciences for European Southern Observatory (ESO)



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