Monday, July 29, 2013

1307.6916 (A. J. Burgasser et al.)

Luhman 16AB: A Remarkable, Variable L/T Transition Binary 2 pc from the Sun    [PDF]

A. J. Burgasser, J. Faherty, Y. Beletsky, P. Plavchan, M. Gillon, J. Radigan, E. Jehin, L. Delrez, C. Opitom, N. Morrell, R. Osten, R. Street, C. Melis, A. Triaud, R. Simcoe
Luhman (2013) has reported the discovery of a brown dwarf binary system only 2.01+/-0.15 pc from the Sun. The binary is well-resolved with a projected separation of 1.5", and spectroscopic observations have identified the components as late-L and early-T dwarfs. The system exhibits several remarkable traits, including a "flux reversal", where the T dwarf is brighter over 0.9-1.3 micron but fainter at other wavelengths; and significant (~10%) short-period (~4.9 hr) photometric variability with a complex light curve. These observations suggest spatial variations in condensate cloud structure, which is known to evolve substantially across the L dwarf/T dwarf transition. Here we report preliminary results from a multi-site monitoring campaign aimed at probing the spectral and temporal properties of this source. Focusing on our spectroscopic observations, we report the first detections of NIR spectral variability, present detailed analysis of K I lines that confirm differences in condensate opacity between the components; and preliminary determinations of radial and rotational velocities based on high-resolution NIR spectroscopy.
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