NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2014A-0484

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Proposal Information for 2014A-0484


PI: Aren Heinze, Stony Brook University, ariheinze@hotmail.com
Address: Physics Department, 100 Nicolls Rd, Stony Brook, NY 11790, USA

CoI: Stanimir Metchev, U of Western Ontario, & Stony Brook U

Title: Do Most T-dwarfs Show Large-Amplitude 0.9 (micron) Variability, or is Luhman 16 B Unusual?

Abstract: Out of well over one hundred brown dwarfs precisely monitored by various observers before 2013, only one (2M 2139) has shown periodic photometric variations with an amplitude greater than 10%. It is thus quite surprising that one component of Luhman 16, the newly discovered binary brown dwarf system that contains both the closest L dwarf and the closest T dwarf to the Sun, exhibits 20% photometric variability at a wavelength of 0.9 (mu)m. However, it is Luhman 16 B (the T dwarf) that appears to be variable, not its L dwarf companion. Almost all previous monitoring of T dwarfs has been done at longer wavelengths, while previous monitoring programs at wavelengths near 0.9 (micron) (e.g. the I- band) have mostly targeted L dwarfs. We do not know whether high amplitude variability at 0.9 (micron) is rare or ubiquitous among T dwarfs - yet it could potentially be very diagnostic of the presence of photospheric clouds. We propose precision 0.9 (micron) photometric monitoring of twelve T dwarfs to determine whether or not the variability of Luhman 16 B is unusual. Our observations will help place this remarkable object in its proper context, and will aid in the ongoing endeavor to model and understand brown dwarf variability.


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2014A-0484

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