The MUSCLES Treasury Survey. II. Intrinsic Lyα and extreme ultraviolet spectra of K and M dwarfs with exoplanets

Allison Youngblood, Kevin France, R. O. Parke Loyd, Jeffrey L. Linsky, Seth Redfield, P. Christian Schneider, Brian E. Wood, Alexander Brown, Cynthia Froning, Yamila Miguel, Sarah Rugheimer, Lucianne Walkowicz

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    95 Citations (Scopus)


    The ultraviolet (UV) spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of low-mass (K- and M-type) stars play a critical role in the heating and chemistry of exoplanet atmospheres, but are not observationally well-constrained. Direct observations of the intrinsic flux of the Lyα line (the dominant source of UV photons from low-mass stars) are challenging, as interstellar H i absorbs the entire line core for even the closest stars. To address the existing gap in empirical constraints on the UV flux of K and M dwarfs, the MUSCLES Hubble Space Telescope Treasury Survey has obtained UV observations of 11 nearby M and K dwarfs hosting exoplanets. This paper presents the Lyα and extreme-UV spectral reconstructions for the MUSCLES targets. Most targets are optically inactive, but all exhibit significant UV activity. We use a Markov Chain Monte Carlo technique to correct the observed Lyα profiles for interstellar absorption, and we employ empirical relations to compute the extreme-UV SED from the intrinsic Lyα flux in ∼100 bins from 100-1170. The reconstructed Lyα profiles have 300 km s-1 broad cores, while >1% of the total intrinsic Lyα flux is measured in extended wings between 300 and 1200 km s-1. The Lyα surface flux positively correlates with the Mg ii surface flux and negatively correlates with the stellar rotation period. Stars with larger Lyα surface flux also tend to have larger surface flux in ions formed at higher temperatures, but these correlations remain statistically insignificant in our sample of 11 stars. We also present H i column density measurements for 10 new sightlines through the local interstellar medium.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number101
    Number of pages18
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2016


    • ISM: clouds
    • Stars: low-mass


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