Author(s): Sofia Paraskevi Moschou1
Institution(s): 1. Harvard-Smithsonian CfA
Contributing team(s): Jeremy J. Drake, Ofer Cohen, Julian D. Alvarado-Gomez, Cecilia Garraffo
For decades the Sun has been the only star that allowed for direct CME observations. Recently, with the discovery of multiple extrasolar systems, it has become imperative that the role of stellar CMEs be assessed in the context of exoplanetary habitability. Solar CMEs and flares show a higher association with increasing flaring energy, with strong flares corresponding to large and fast CMEs. As argued in earlier studies, extrasolar environments around active stars are potentially dominated by CMEs, as a result of their extreme flaring activity. This has strong implications for the energy budget of the system and the atmospheric erosion of orbiting planets.
Nevertheless, with current instrumentation we are unable to directly observe CMEs in even the closest stars, and thus we have to look for indirect techniques and observational evidence and signatures for the eruption of stellar CMEs. There are three major observational techniques for tracing CME signatures in other stellar systems, namely measuring Type II radio bursts, Doppler shifts in UV/optical lines or transient absorption in the X-ray spectrum. We present observations of the most probable stellar CME candidates captured so far and examine the different observational techniques used together with their levels of uncertainty. Assuming that they were CMEs, we try to asses their kinematic and energetic characteristics and place them in an extension of the well-established solar CME-flare energy scaling law. We finish by discussing future observations for direct measurements.