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L. Sairam

Research: Activity properties of low mass planet bearing stars

Low-mass stars are the most common of potential planetary hosts, which may end up being an important population for astrobiology. Despite their cool effective temperatures and largely neutral photospheres, low-mass stars have strong magnetic dynamos. Non-radiative heating processes transfer energy from the magnetic field into the stellar atmosphere, powering both steady-state emission from X-rays to radio, as well as energetic flares that contribute to the transient population and affect the habitability of orbiting planets. Active M dwarfs show flares that can potentially affect their spectra. Active M dwarfs can have flare rates of several flares per hour. The accurate measurement of radial velocity (RV) may be influenced by stellar activity. For inactive M stars there is a weak correlations between activity and RVs. Hence it is necessary to characterise these low mass stars to disentangle RV variations due to spots and other stellar activity effects from the presence of planetary companions. Although this magnetic heating (or activity) has been observed for decades, the exact mechanisms that control magnetic activity in M dwarfs are still not well understood. My work is concerned with activity properties of low mass planet-bearing stars, mostly in X-ray regime.