A Search for Variability in the Active T Dwarf 2MASS 1237+6526

May 2002 • 2002AJ....123.2744B

Authors • Burgasser, Adam J. • Liebert, James • Kirkpatrick, J. Davy • Gizis, John E.

Abstract • We present spectroscopic and imaging observations of the active T dwarf 2MASS 1237+6526, intended to investigate the emission mechanism of this cool brown dwarf. The Hα emission line, first detected in 1999 July, appears to be persistent over 1.6 yr, with no significant variation from log10(L/Lbol)=-4.3, ruling out flaring as a possible source. The relatively high level of emission in this object appears to be unique among observed late-L and T dwarfs. One of our spectra shows an apparent velocity shift in the Hα line, which could indicate an accretion hot spot in orbit around the brown dwarf; further confirmation of this shift is required. J-band monitoring observations fail to detect any significant variability (e.g., eclipsing events) at the +/-0.025 mag level over periods of up to 2.5 hr, and there appears to be no statistical evidence of variability for periods of up to 14 hr. These limits constrain the mass of a hypothetical interacting secondary to M2<~20 MJup for inclinations i>~60°. While our observations do not explicitly rule out the binary hypothesis for this object, it does suggest that other mechanisms, such as youthful accretion, may be responsible.


IPAC Authors


Davy Kirkpatrick

Senior Scientist