A search for photometric variability in L- and T-type brown dwarf atmospheres.
KHANDRIKA H., BURGASSER A.J., MELIS C., LUK C., BOWSHER E. and SWIFT B.
Abstract (from CDS):
Using the Gemini infrared camera on the 3 m Shane telescope at Lick Observatory, we have searched for broadband J and K' photometric variability for a sample of 15 L- and T-type brown dwarfs, including 7 suspected spectral binaries. Four of the dwarfs–2MASS J0939-2448, 2MASS J1416+1348A, 2MASS J1711+2232, and 2MASS J2139+0220–exhibit statistically significant variations over timescales ranging from ∼0.5 hr to 6 days. Our detection of variability in 2MASS J2139+0220 confirms that reported by Radigan et al., and periodogram and phase dispersion minimization analysis also confirms a variability period of approximately 7.6±0.2 hr. Remarkably, two of the four variables are known or candidate binary systems, including 2MASS J2139+0220, for which we find only marginal evidence of radial velocity variation over the course of a year. This result suggests that some spectral binary candidates may appear as such due to the blending of cloudy and non-cloudy regions in a single "patchy" atmosphere. Our results are consistent with an overall variability fraction of 35% ± 5%, with no clear evidence of greater variability among brown dwarfs at the L dwarf/T dwarf transition.
brown dwarfs - infrared: stars - stars: low-mass