On 2014 April 23, the Swift satellite responded to a hard X-ray transient detected by its Burst Alert Telescope, which turned out to be a stellar flare from a nearby, young M dwarf binary DG CVn. We utilize observations at X-ray, UV, optical, and radio wavelengths to infer the properties of two large flares. The X-ray spectrum of the primary outburst can be described over the 0.3-100 keV bandpass by either a single very high-temperature plasma or a nonthermal thick-target bremsstrahlung model, and we rule out the nonthermal model based on energetic grounds. The temperatures were the highest seen spectroscopically in a stellar flare, at T X of 290 MK. The first event was followed by a comparably energetic event almost a day later. We constrain the photospheric area involved in each of the two flares to be >1020 cm2, and find evidence from flux ratios in the second event of contributions to the white light flare emission in addition to the usual hot, T ∼ 104 K blackbody emission seen in the impulsive phase of flares. The radiated energy in X-rays and white light reveal these events to be the two most energetic X-ray flares observed from an M dwarf, with X-ray radiated energies in the 0.3-10 keV bandpass of 4 1035 and 9 1035 erg, and optical flare energies at E V of 2.8 1034 and 5.2 1034 erg, respectively. The results presented here should be integrated into updated modeling of the astrophysical impact of large stellar flares on close-in exoplanetary atmospheres.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science