NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2014A-0533

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Proposal Information for 2014A-0533


PI: Stanimir Metchev, University of Western Ontario, smetchev@uwo.ca
Address: Canada

CoI: Aren Heinze, Stony Brook University
CoI: Radostin Kurtev, Universidad Valparaiso
CoI: Kendra Kellogg, University of Western Ontario

Title: Unraveling the Cloud Structure in the Brightest Brown Dwarfs

Abstract: The binary brown dwarf Luhman 16AB is one of the most exciting astronomical discoveries of 2013, and offers a unique opportunity to understand a pair of ultra-cool atmospheres in great detail. The binary components are bright (I 15 mag) and almost uniquely well separated. In addition, Luhman 16 is also the only binary brown dwarf that is both known to be variable, and the components of which can be monitored separately even in seeing-limited observations. This is a very powerful combination of circumstances, since the binary can be aligned on a spectroscopic slit, and then monitored simultaneously and continuously at high SNR for unprecedentedly accurate and detailed spectropscopy on a brown dwarf. We propose to take advantage of this opportunity and reveal the longitudinal and vertical cloud structure of each of the binary components through continuous optical spectroscopic monitoring over three days. The changes in the strengths of various chemical species will reveal the altitudes of the dominant cloud absrobers, and hence, by comparison to pressure-tempertature equlibrium models, for the first time the actual composition of the clouds.


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2014A-0533

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