Ultracool dwarfs observed with the Spitzer infrared spectrograph. I. An accurate look at the L-to-T transition at ∼300 myr from optical through mid-infrared spectrophotometry

Genaro Suárez, Stanimir Metchev, Sandy K. Leggett, Didier Saumon, Mark S. Marley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We present Spitzer IRS 5-14 μm spectra and 16 μm and 22 μm photometry of the T2.5 companion to the ∼300 Myr old G0V star HN Peg. We incorporate previous 0.8-5 μm observations to obtain the most comprehensive spectral energy distribution (SED) of an intermediate-gravity L/T-transition dwarf that, together with an accurate Gaia EDR3 parallax of the primary, enables us to derive precise fundamental parameters. We find that young (≈0.1-0.3 Gyr) early-T dwarfs on average have ≈140 K lower effective temperatures, ≈20% larger radii, and similar bolometric luminosities compared to ≳1 Gyr old field dwarfs with similar spectral types. Our accurate infrared spectrophotometry offers new detail at wavelengths where the dominant carbon-bearing molecules have their strongest transitions: at 3.4 μm for methane and at 4.6 μm for carbon monoxide. We assess the performance of various widely available photospheric models and find that models with condensates and/or clouds better reproduce the full SED of this moderately young early-T dwarf. However, cloud-free models incorporating a more general convective instability treatment reproduce at least the low-resolution near-infrared spectrum similarly well. Our analysis of R ≈ 2300 J-band spectra shows that the near-infrared potassium absorption lines in HN Peg B have similar strengths to those seen in both younger and older T2-T3 dwarfs. We conclude that while alkali lines are well established as surface gravity indicators for L-type or warmer stars, they are insensitive to surface gravity in early-T dwarfs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberac1418
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume920
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 20 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Brown dwarfs (185) supporting material
  • Data behind figure
  • Unified astronomy thesaurus concepts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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