Starspots, spin-orbit misalignment, and active latitudes in the HAT-P-11 exoplanetary system

Roberto Sanchis-Ojeda, Joshua N. Winn

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169 Scopus citations


We present the analysis of four months of Kepler photometry of the K4V star HAT-P-11, including 26 transits of its "super-Neptune" planet. The transit data exhibit numerous anomalies which we interpret as passages of the planet over dark starspots. These spot-crossing anomalies preferentially occur at two specific phases of the transit. These phases can be understood as the intersection points between the transit chord and the active latitudes of the host star, where starspots are most abundant. Based on the measured characteristics of spot-crossing anomalies and previous observations of the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect, we find two solutions for the stellar obliquity ψ and active latitude l: either ψ = 106+15 -11 and l = 19.7+1.5 -2.2, or ψ = 97+8 -4 and l = 67+2 -4 (all in degrees). If the active latitude changes with time analogous to the "butterfly diagram" of the Sun's activity cycle, future observations should reveal changes in the preferred phases of spot-crossing anomalies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number61
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 10 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • planetary systems
  • stars: activity
  • stars: individual (HAT-P-11)
  • stars: rotation
  • starspots


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