Stellar Obliquity and Magnetic Activity of Planet-hosting Stars and Eclipsing Binaries Based on Transit Chord Correlation

Fei Dai, Joshua N. Winn, Zachory Berta-Thompson, Roberto Sanchis-Ojeda, Simon Albrecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The light curve of an eclipsing system shows anomalies whenever the eclipsing body passes in front of active regions on the eclipsed star. In some cases, the pattern of anomalies can be used to determine the obliquity Ψ of the eclipsed star. Here we present a method for detecting and analyzing these patterns, based on a statistical test for correlations between the anomalies observed in a sequence of eclipses. Compared to previous methods, ours makes fewer assumptions and is easier to automate. We apply it to a sample of 64 stars with transiting planets and 24 eclipsing binaries for which precise space-based data are available, and for which there was either some indication of flux anomalies or a previously reported obliquity measurement. We were able to determine obliquities for 10 stars with hot Jupiters. In particular we found Ψ ≲ 10° for Kepler-45, which is only the second M dwarf with a measured obliquity. The other eight cases are G and K stars with low obliquities. Among the eclipsing binaries, we were able to determine obliquities in eight cases, all of which are consistent with zero. Our results also reveal some common patterns of stellar activity for magnetically active G and K stars, including persistently active longitudes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number177
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • binaries: eclipsing
  • planetary systems
  • planets and satellites: general
  • stars: activity
  • stars: rotation
  • starspots


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