NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2012B-0468

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Proposal Information for 2012B-0468


PI: Aren Heinze, Stony Brook University, ariheinze@hotmail.com
Address: Physics Department, 100 Nicolls Rd, Stony Brook, NY 11794-3800, USA

CoI: Stanimir Metchev, Stony Brook University
CoI: Daniel Apai, University of Arizona
CoI: Davin Flateau, University of Arizona
CoI: Etienne Artigau, Universite de Montreal
CoI: Jacqueline Radigan, University of Toronto
CoI: Mark Marley, NASA Ames Research Center

Title: Intensive Multi-Band Photometry to Elucidate Weather on a Spitzer- Identified Variable L-Dwarf

Abstract: Brown dwarfs are the first objects beyond our Solar System in which we can - via precise photometry - observe time-variable cloud phenomena. Initial results from our Spitzer Space Telescope program have revealed a strikingly variable L6 brown dwarf, the variability of which does not appear to be rotationally modulated unless the period is very long (at least 24 hr when 2-7 hr is typical). While the a priori expectation is that brown dwarf variability should be rotational and periodic, a number of ground-based studies have also found non-periodic variability. A potential explanation is that rapid cloud changes due to vigorous convection on these objects wash out the photometric signature of rotation. We propose to test this hypothesis. An intensive monitoring campaign targeting our variable L6 brown dwarf, including simultaneous multi-wavelength observations, will allow us to rule out slow rotation, probe the properties of the clouds, and (perhaps) extract the suppressed signal of rotational variability. These observations will build on our remarkable Spitzer detection to create \textbfby far the most comprehensive picture yet of a variable L dwarf.


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