NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2012A-0355

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Proposal Information for 2012A-0355


PI: Michael Cushing, University of Toledo, michael.cushing@utoledo.edu
Address: Physics Department, 2801 West Bancroft St. MS 113, Toledo, OH 43606, USA

CoI: J. Davy Kirkpatrick, IPAC
CoI: Chris Gelino, IPAC
CoI: Roger Griffith, IPAC
CoI: Ken Marsh, IPAC
CoI: Mike Skrutskie, University of Virginia
CoI: Peter Eisenhardt, JPL

Title: Northern Hemisphere Follow-Up Observations of WISE Brown Dwarf Candidates

Abstract: Brown dwarfs provide a natural link between the physics of stars and gas giant planets. Although hundreds of brown dwarfs have been discovered by wide-field surveys such as 2MASS, SDSS, and UKIDSS, it was not until the launch of NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) that a population of ultracool (\teff < 500 K) brown dwarfs was discovered. Detailed studies of these brown dwarfs will allow us to measure the low-mass stellar mass function and the minimum formation mass, two critical constraints on theories of star formation. Ultracool brown dwarfs are also ideal exoplanet analogs that can be used to test and improve ultracool atmospheric model atmospheres. As part of a larger followup campaign that involves both ground- and space-based observatories, we propose to continue using Gemini North to obtain near- infrared photometry and spectroscopy of ultracool brown dwarf candidates identified with WISE. Specifically, we propose to obtain J- and H- band imaging with NIRI of twenty-four brown dwarf candidates that lack near-infrared photometry and 1-2.5 (micron) spectra with GNIRS of three brown dwarf candidates with J ~ 18.7.


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