NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2011A-0604

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Proposal Information for 2011A-0604


PI: Trent Dupuy, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, tdupuy@cfa.harvard.edu
Address: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, 60 Garden St, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

CoI: Michael C. Liu, University of Hawaii

Title: Resolving the Atmospheres of Substellar Mass Benchmark Binaries at the L/T Dwarf Transition

Abstract: After years of patient orbital monitoring, there is now a sample of brown dwarf binaries with precise (\lesssim10%) dynamical masses probing the transition from L to T dwarfs. These binaries represent the gold standard for testing substellar theoretical models. Work to date has identified problems with the model-predicted broadband 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, particularly for these L/T binaries where the components are expected to be very spectrally dissimilar. To solve this problem, we propose to use narrow-band imaging with Keck/OSIRIS LGS to measure resolved SEDs for this first sample of L/T binaries with well-determined dynamical masses. The multi-band photometry we obtain will enable us to precisely estimate spectral types and effective temperatures, providing the best empirical standard of reference to date for evolutionary and atmospheric models. Our proposed Keck observations to characterize these binary components 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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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2011A-0604

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