An empirical correction for activity effects on the temperatures, radii, and estimated masses of low-mass stars and brown dwarfs

Keivan G. Stassun, Kaitlin M. Kratter, Aleks Scholz, Trent J. Dupuy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present empirical relations for determining the amount by which the effective temperatures and radii - and therefore the estimated masses - of low-mass stars and brown dwarfs are altered due to chromospheric activity. We base our relations on a large set of low-mass stars in the field with Hα activity measurements, and on a set of low-mass eclipsing binaries with X-ray activity measurements from which we indirectly infer the Hα activity. Both samples yield consistent relations linking the amount by which an active object's temperature is suppressed, and its radius inflated, to the strength of its Hα emission. These relations are found to approximately preserve bolometric luminosity. We apply these relations to the peculiar brown dwarf eclipsing binary 2M0535-05, in which the active, higher-mass brown dwarf has a cooler temperature than its inactive, lower-mass companion. The relations correctly reproduce the observed temperatures and radii of 2M0535-05 after accounting for the Hα emission; 2M0535-05 would be in precise agreement with theoretical isochrones were it is inactive. The relations that we present are applicable to brown dwarfs and low-mass stars with masses below 0.8 M and for which the activity, as measured by the fractional Hα luminosity, is in the range -4.6 ≲ log L /L bol ≲ - 3.3. We expect these relations to be most useful for correcting radius and mass estimates of low-mass stars and brown dwarfs over their active lifetimes (few Gyr) and when the ages or distances (and therefore luminosities) are unknown. We also discuss the implications of this work for improved determinations of young cluster initial mass functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number47
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume756
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • brown dwarfs
  • stars: activity
  • stars: fundamental parameters
  • stars: low-mass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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