High Resolution Imaging of Very Low Mass Spectral Binaries: Three Resolved Systems and Detection of Orbital Motion in an L/T Transition Binary

November 2015 • 2015AJ....150..163B

Authors • Bardalez Gagliuffi, Daniella C. • Gelino, Christopher R. • Burgasser, Adam J.

Abstract • We present high resolution Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics imaging of 43 late-M, L and T dwarf systems with Keck/NIRC2. These include 17 spectral binary candidates, systems whose spectra suggest the presence of a T dwarf secondary. We resolve three systems: 2MASS J1341-3052, SDSS J1511+0607 and SDSS J2052-1609 the first two are resolved for the first time. All three have projected separations <8 AU and estimated periods of 14-80 years. We also report a preliminary orbit determination for SDSS J2052-1609 based on six epochs of resolved astrometry between 2005 and 2010. Among the 14 unresolved spectral binaries, 5 systems were confirmed binaries but remained unresolved, implying a minimum binary fraction of {47}-11+12% for this sample. Our inability to resolve most of the spectral binaries, including the confirmed binaries, supports the hypothesis that a large fraction of very low mass systems have relatively small separations and are missed with direct imaging.

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.


IPAC Authors

Chris Gelino

Associate Scientist