HN Peg B: A Test of Models of the L to T Dwarf Transition

August 2008 • 2008ApJ...682.1256L

Authors • Leggett, S. K. • Saumon, D. • Albert, Loic • Cushing, Michael C. • Liu, Michael C. • Luhman, K. L. • Marley, M. S. • Kirkpatrick, J. Davy • Roellig, Thomas L. • Allers, K. N.

Abstract • Luhman and collaborators recently discovered an early-T dwarf companion to the G0 dwarf star HN Peg, using Spitzer Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) images. Companionship was established on the basis of the common proper motion inferred from 1998 Two Micron All Sky Survey images and the 2004 IRAC images. In this paper we present new near-infrared imaging data which confirm the common proper motion of the system. We also present new 3-4 μm spectroscopy of HN Peg B, which provides tighter constraints on both the bolometric luminosity determination and the comparison to synthetic spectra. New adaptive optics imaging data are also presented, which show the T dwarf to be unresolved, providing limits on the multiplicity of the object. We use the age, distance, and luminosity of the solar-metallicity T dwarf to determine its effective temperature and gravity, and compare synthetic spectra with these values, and a range of grain properties and vertical mixing, to the observed 0.8-4.0 μm spectra and mid-infrared photometry. We find that models with temperature and gravity appropriate for the older end of the age range of the system (0.5 Gyr) can do a reasonable job of fitting the data, but only if the photospheric condensate cloud deck is thin, and if there is significant vertical mixing in the atmosphere. Dwarfs such as HN Peg B, with well-determined metallicity, radius, gravity, and temperature, will allow development of dynamical atmosphere models, leading to the solution of the puzzle of the L to T dwarf transition.

Some of the data presented herein were obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation. Some data were also obtained at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), which is operated by the National Research Council of Canada, the Institut National des Sciences de l'Univers of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique of France, and the University of Hawaii.


IPAC Authors


Davy Kirkpatrick

Senior Scientist