The 2MASS Wide-Field T Dwarf Search. IV. Hunting Out T Dwarfs with Methane Imaging

November 2005 • 2005AJ....130.2326T

Authors • Tinney, C. G. • Burgasser, Adam J. • Kirkpatrick, J. Davy • McElwain, Michael W.

Abstract • We present first results from a major program of methane filter photometry for low-mass stars and brown dwarfs. The definition of a new methane filter photometric system is described. A recipe is provided for the differential calibration of methane imaging data using existing Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) photometry. We show that these filters are effective in discriminating T dwarfs from other types of stars, and we demonstrate this with Anglo-Australian Telescope observations using the IRIS2 imager. Methane imaging data and proper motions are presented for 10 T dwarfs identified as part of the 2MASS Wide-Field T Dwarf Search, seven of them initially identified as T dwarfs using methane imaging. We also present near-infrared moderate-resolution spectra for five T dwarfs newly discovered by this technique. Spectral types obtained from these spectra are compared to those derived from both our methane filter observations and spectral types derived by other observers. Finally, we suggest a range of future programs to which these filters are clearly well suited: the winnowing of T dwarf and Y dwarf candidate objects coming from the next generation of near-infrared sky surveys, the robust detection of candidate planetary-mass brown dwarfs in clusters, the detection of T dwarf companions to known L and T dwarfs via deep methane imaging, and the search for rotationally modulated time-variable surface features on cool brown dwarfs.

Based on observations obtained at the Anglo-Australian Telescope, Siding Spring, Australia.


IPAC Authors


Davy Kirkpatrick

Senior Scientist