NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010B-0589

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Proposal Information for 2010B-0589


PI: Trent J. Dupuy, University of Hawaii, tdupuy@ifa.hawaii.edu
Address: Institute for Astronomy, 2680 Woodlawn Dr, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA

CoI: Michael C. Liu, University of Hawaii

Title: Testing Ultracool Atmospheres with Mass Benchmarks

Abstract: After years of patient orbital monitoring, there is now a sample of ~10 very low-mass stars and brown dwarfs with precise (~5%) dynamical masses. These binaries represent the gold standard for testing substellar theoretical models. Work to date has identified problems with the model-predicted broad-band colors, effective temperatures, and possibly even luminosity evolution with age. However, our ability to test models is currently limited by how well the individual components of these highly prized binaries are characterized. To solve this problem, we propose to obtain narrow-band imaging with Keck/OSIRIS LGS to measure resolved SEDs for this first sizable sample of ultracool binaries with well-determined dynamical masses. This multi- band photometry will enable us to precisely estimate spectral types and effective temperatures of individual binary components, providing the strongest constraints to date on widely used evolutionary and atmospheric models. Our proposed Keck observations are much less daunting in comparison to the years of orbital monitoring needed to yield dynamical masses, but these data are equally vital for robust tests of theory.


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