Superflares on the late-type giant KIC 2852961: Scaling effect behind flaring at different energy levels

Zs Kovári, K. Oláh, M. N. Günther, K. Vida, L. Kriskovics, B. Seli, G. A. Bakos, J. D. Hartman, Z. Csubry, W. Bhatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Context. The most powerful superflares reaching 1039 erg bolometric energy are from giant stars. The mechanism behind flaring is thought to be the magnetic reconnection, which is closely related to magnetic activity (including starspots). However, it is poorly understood how the underlying magnetic dynamo works and how the flare activity is related to the stellar properties that eventually control the dynamo action. Aims. We analyze the flaring activity of KIC 2852961, a late-type giant star, in order to understand how its flare statistics are related to those of other stars with flares and superflares, and to understand the role of the observed stellar properties in generating flares. Methods. We searched for flares in the full Kepler dataset of KIC 2852961 using an automated technique together with visual inspection. We cross-matched the flare-like events detected by the two different approaches and set a final list of 59 verified flares during the observing term. We calculated flare energies for the sample and performed a statistical analysis. Results. The stellar properties of KIC 2852961 are revised and a more consistent set of parameters are proposed. The cumulative flare energy distribution can be characterized by a broken power law; that is to say, on the log-log representation the distribution function is fitted by two linear functions with different slopes, depending on the energy range fitted. We find that the total flare energy integrated over a few rotation periods correlates with the average amplitude of the rotational modulation due to starspots. Conclusions. Flares and superflares seem to be the result of the same physical mechanism at different energy levels, also implying that late-type stars in the main sequence and flaring giant stars have the same underlying physical process for emitting flares. There might be a scaling effect behind the generation of flares and superflares in the sense that the higher the magnetic activity, the higher the overall magnetic energy released by flares and/or superflares.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA83
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Stars: activity
  • Stars: flare
  • Stars: individual: 2MASS J19261136+3803107
  • Stars: individual: KIC 2852961
  • Stars: individual: TIC 137220334
  • Stars: late-type


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