Friday, December 16, 2016

An Interplay of Starspots & Clouds Likely Drive the Variability of the L3.5 dwarf 2MASS 0036+18


Croll et al


We present multi-telescope, ground-based, multiwavelength optical and near-infrared photometry of the variable L3.5 ultra-cool dwarf 2MASSW J0036159+182110. We present 22 nights of photometry of 2MASSW J0036159+182110, including 7 nights of simultaneous, multiwavelength photometry, spread over ~120 days allowing us to determine the rotation period of this ultra-cool dwarf to be 3.080 +/- 0.001 hr. Our many nights of multiwavelength photometry allow us to observe the evolution, or more specifically the lack thereof, of the light curve over a great many rotation periods. The lack of discernible phase shifts in our multiwavelength photometry, and that the amplitude of variability generally decreases as one moves to longer wavelengths for 2MASSW J0036159+182110, is generally consistent with starspots driving the variability on this ultra-cool dwarf, with starspots that are ~100 degrees K hotter or cooler than the ~1700 K photosphere. Also, reasonably thick clouds are required to fit the spectra of 2MASSW J0036159+182110, suggesting there likely exists some complex interplay between the starspots driving the variability of this ultra-cool dwarf and the clouds that appear to envelope this ultra-cool dwarf.

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