Astrophys. J., 758, 57 (2012/October-2)
Two extraordinary substellar binaries at the T/Y transition and the y-band fluxes of the coolest brown dwarfs.
LIU M.C., DUPUY T.J., BOWLER B.P., LEGGETT S.K. and BEST W.M.J.
Abstract (from CDS):
Using Keck laser guide star adaptive optics imaging, we have found that the T9 dwarf WISE J1217+1626 and T8 dwarf WISE J1711+3500 are exceptional binaries, with unusually wide separations (~0".8, 8-15 AU), large near-IR flux ratios (~2-3 mag), and small mass ratios (~0.5) compared to previously known field ultracool binaries. Keck/NIRSPEC H-band spectra give a spectral type of Y0 for WISE J1217+1626B, and photometric estimates suggest T9.5 for WISE J1711+3500B. The WISE J1217+1626AB system is very similar to the T9+Y0 binary CFBDSIR J1458+1013AB; these two systems are the coldest known substellar multiples, having secondary components of ~400 K and being planetary-mass binaries if their ages are ≲ 1 Gyr. Both WISE J1217+1626B and CFBDSIR J1458+1013B have strikingly blue Y - J colors compared to previously known T dwarfs, including their T9 primaries. Combining all available data, we find that Y - J color drops precipitously between the very latest T dwarfs and the Y dwarfs. The fact that this is seen in (coeval, mono-metallicity) binaries demonstrates that the color drop arises from a change in temperature, not surface gravity or metallicity variations among the field population. Thus, the T/Y transition established by near-IR spectra coincides with a significant change in the ~1 µm fluxes of ultracool photospheres. One explanation is the depletion of potassium, whose broad absorption wings dominate the far-red optical spectra of T dwarfs. This large color change suggests that far-red data may be valuable for classifying objects of ≲ 500 K.
binaries: close - binaries: general - brown dwarfs - infrared: stars - techniques: high angular resolution
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