CLARKE R.W., DAVENPORT J.R.A., COVEY K.R. and BARANEC C.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present an analysis of flare activity in wide binary stars using a combination of value-added data sets from the NASA Kepler mission. The target list contains a set of previously discovered wide binary star systems identified by proper motions in the Kepler field. We cross-matched these systems with estimates of flare activity for ∼200,000 stars in the Kepler field, allowing us to compare relative flare luminosity between stars in coeval binaries. From a sample of 184 previously known wide binaries in the Kepler field, we find 58 with detectable flare activity in at least 1 component, 33 of which are similar in mass (q > 0.8). Of these 33 equal-mass binaries, the majority display similar (±1 dex) flare luminosity between both stars, as expected for stars of equal mass and age. However, we find two equal-mass pairs where the secondary (lower mass) star is more active than its counterpart, and two equal-mass pairs where the primary star is more active. The stellar rotation periods are also anomalously fast for stars with elevated flare activity. Pairs with discrepant rotation and activity qualitatively seem to have lower mass ratios. These outliers may be due to tidal spin-up, indicating these wide binaries could be hierarchical triple systems. We additionally present high-resolution adaptive optics images for two wide binary systems to test this hypothesis. The demographics of stellar rotation and magnetic activity between stars in wide binaries may be useful indicators for discerning the formation scenarios of these systems.