Friday, October 14, 2016

Dust in the Atmospheres of L Class Brown Dwarfs


Hiranaka et al


We examine the hypothesis that the red near-infrared colors of some L dwarfs could be explained by a "dust haze" of small particles in their upper atmospheres. This dust haze would exist in conjunction with the clouds found in dwarfs with more typical colors. We developed a model which uses Mie theory and the Hansen particle size distributions to reproduce the extinction due to the proposed dust haze. We apply our method to 23 young L dwarfs and 23 red field L dwarfs. We constrain the properties of the dust haze including particle size distribution and column density using Markov-Chain Monte Carlo methods. We find that sub-micron range silicate grains reproduce the observed reddening. Current brown dwarf atmosphere models include large grain (1--100~μm) dust clouds but not submicron dust grains. Our results provide a strong proof of concept and motivate a combination of large and small dust grains in brown dwarf atmosphere models.

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