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A Flaring L5 Dwarf: The Nature of Hα Emission in Very Low Mass (Sub)Stellar Objects

January 2003 • 2003AJ....125..343L

Authors • Liebert, James • Kirkpatrick, J. Davy • Cruz, K. L. • Reid, I. Neill • Burgasser, Adam • Tinney, C. G. • Gizis, John E.

Abstract • Time series spectrophotometry of the L5 dwarf 2MASS J01443536-0716142 showed strong Hα emission that declined by nearly 75% in four consecutive exposures. The line was not detected in emission on a spectrum obtained 11 months later. This behavior contrasts with that of 2MASSI J1315309-264951, an L5 dwarf that has shown even stronger Hα emission on four separate occasions. The observational database suggests that L dwarfs can be found in such strong flares only occasionally, with a duty cycle on the order of 1%. In contrast, the few, continuously strong Hα emitters, including PC 0025+0447 and 2MASSI J1237392+652615, must either be (1) objects no older than 10-100 Myr with continuously active accretion and/or chromospheres, but which apparently formed in isolation from known young stellar clusters and associations, or (2) objects empowered by a different but unknown mechanism for the Hα energy.

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Davy Kirkpatrick

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