FM8p.45 — MACULA: Fast Modeling of Rotational Modulations of Spotty Stars

Date & Time

Aug 4th at 6:00 PM until 7:30 PM

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Author(s): David Kipping1

Institution(s): 1. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics


Rotational modulations are frequently observed on stars observed by photometry surveys such as Kepler, with periodicities ranging from days to months and amplitudes of sub-parts-per-million to several percent. These variations may be studied to reveal important stellar properties such as rotational periods, inclinations and gradients of differential rotation. However, inverting the disk-integrated flux into a solution for spot number, sizes, contrasts, etc is highly degenerate and thereby necessitating an exhaustive search of the parameter space. In recognition of this, the software MACULA is designed to be a fast forward model of circular, grey spots on rotating stars, including effects such as differential rotation, spot evolution and even spot penumbra/umbra. MACULA seeks to achieve computational efficiency by using a wholly analytic description of the disk-integrated flux, which is described in Kipping (2012), leading to a computational improvement of three orders-of-magnitude over its numerical counterparts. As part of the hack day, I'll show how to simulate light curves with MACULA and provide examples with visualizations. I will also discuss the on-going development of the code, which will head towards modeling spot crossing events and radial velocity jitter and I encourage discussions amongst the participants on analytic methods to this end.