Weather on other worlds. iv. Hδ emission and photometric variability are not correlated in l0{t8 dwarfs

Paulo A. Miles-Paez, Stanimir A. Metchev, Aren Heinze, Daniel Apai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent photometric studies have revealed that surface spots that produce ux 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Apr 23 2017


  • Brown Dwarfs
  • Stars: Activity
  • Stars: Low-Mass
  • Stars: Rotation
  • Stars: Variables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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