Weather on other worlds. IV. Hα emission and photometric variability are not correlated in L0-T8 dwarfs.
MILES-PAEZ P.A., METCHEV S.A., HEINZE A. and APAI D.
Abstract (from CDS):
Recent photometric studies have revealed that surface spots that produce flux variations are present on virtually all L and T dwarfs. Their likely magnetic or dusty nature has been a much-debated problem, the resolution to which has been hindered by paucity of diagnostic multi-wavelength observations. To test for a correlation between magnetic activity and photometric variability, we searched for Hα emission among eight L3-T2 ultra-cool dwarfs with extensive previous photometric monitoring, some of which are known to be variable at 3.6 µm or 4.5 µm. We detected Hα only in the non-variable T2 dwarf 2MASS J12545393-0122474. The remaining seven objects do not show Hα emission, even though six of them are known to vary photometrically. Combining our results with those for 86 other L and T dwarfs from the literature show that the detection rate of Hα emission is very high (94%) for spectral types between L0 and L3.5 and much smaller (20%) for spectral types >=L4, while the detection rate of photometric variability is approximately constant (30%-55%) from L0 to T8 dwarfs. We conclude that chromospheric activity, as evidenced by Hα emission, and large-amplitude photometric variability are not correlated. Consequently, dust clouds are the dominant driver of the observed variability of ultra-cool dwarfs at spectral types, at least as early as L0.