NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2001B-0155

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Proposal Information for 2001B-0155


PI: Christopher R. Gelino, New Mexico State University, crom@nmsu.edu
Address: PO Box 30001, MSC 4500, Las Cruces, NM 88003, USA

CoI: Mark Marley, New Mexico State University

Title: Searching for Clouds in L Dwarfs

Abstract: The effective temperatures of L dwarfs (the spectral class next cooler than M) span the range where molecules can condense to form clouds. As on Jupiter, clouds on these objects are not expected to be uniform. Photometric variability in the I band has been reported for several L dwarfs, as has variations in the spectrum of one L dwarf. These variations are likely caused by clouds. It is not known if the variations are from a large cloud (or hole in a cloud) moving across the disk of the object, or if the clouds are rapidly evolving. We propose to observe 4 L dwarfs in order to search for variations in the infrared. All of our targets have been monitored in the I band, and two have shown variations. The multi-wavelength photometry obtained with SQIID on the KPNO 2.1m will be used to determine how the brightness changes simultaneously in the infrared J, H, and K bandpasses, thereby creating a rough spectral energy distribution as a function of time. This information will place constraints on the source of the variability. We request 8 nights with SQIID on the KPNO 2.1m telescope to obtain J, H, and K light curves of 4 L dwarfs.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



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