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We present an analysis of the starspots on the active M4 dwarf GJ 1243, using 4 years of time series photometry from Kepler. A rapid P = 0.592596 ± 0.00021 days rotation period is measured due to the ~2.2% starspot-induced flux modulations in the light curve. We first use a light curve modeling approach, using a Monte Carlo Markov Chain sampler to solve for the longitudes and radii of the two spots within 5 day windows of data. Within each window of time the starspots are assumed to be unchanging. Only a weak constraint on the starspot latitudes can be implied from our modeling. The primary spot is found to be very stable over many years. A secondary spot feature is present in three portions of the light curve, decays on 100–500 day timescales, and moves in longitude over time. We interpret this longitude shearing as the signature of differential rotation. Using our models we measure an average shear between the starspots of 0.0047 rad day−1, which corresponds to a differential rotation rate of Δ = 0.012 ± 0.002 rad day−1. We also fit this starspot phase evolution using a series of bivariate Gaussian functions, which provides a consistent shear measurement. This is among the slowest differential rotation shear measurements yet measured for a star in this temperature regime, and provides an important constraint for dynamo models of low-mass stars.

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The Astrophysical Journal





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Published 2015 June 18 • © 2015. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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