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James Jackman, University of Warwick
Stellar flares are explosive phenomena which, along with providing a way to probe the magnetic environments of stars, may seriously affect the habitability of planets around them. This is particularly true for M stars (e.g. Proxima Centauri, TRAPPIST-1) which host Earth-sized planets in their close proximity “habitable zone”, yet regularly flare with energies greater than the largest Solar flares. In this talk I will present our study of stellar flares using the 13 second cadence full frame images of the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS). The high cadence of NGTS allows to detect short duration flares missed by other surveys, while the full frame images means we can detect flares from both bright stars and ultracool M and L dwarfs which only become visible while flaring. Our work includes studying how flare properties change from G stars down to ultracool dwarfs, how flare occurrence rates change both between spectral types and as a function of age and how these results might impact exoplanet habitability. I will also show how our work is increasing the studied sample of flaring cool and ultracool dwarfs and includes the first detection of a white-light flare from an L2.5 dwarf, the lowest mass star to show such an event to date.