Friday, December 2, 2016

L-band Spectroscopy with Magellan-AO/Clio2: First Results on Young Low-Mass Companions


Stone et al


L-band spectroscopy is a powerful probe of cool low-gravity atmospheres: The P, Q, and R branch fundamental transitions of methane near 3.3 μm provide a sensitive probe of carbon chemistry; cloud thickness modifies the spectral slope across the band; and H+3 opacity can be used to detect aurorae. Many directly imaged gas-giant companions to nearby young stars exhibit L-band fluxes distinct from the field population of brown dwarfs at the same effective temperature. Here we describe commissioning the L-band spectroscopic mode of Clio2, the 1-5 μm instrument behind the Magellan adaptive-optics system. We use this system to measure L-band spectra of directly imaged companions. Our spectra are generally consistent with the parameters derived from previous near-infrared spectra for these late M to early L type objects. Therefore, deviations from the field sequence are constrained to occur below 1500 K. This range includes the L-T transition for field objects and suggests that observed discrepancies are due to differences in cloud structure and CO/CH4 chemistry.

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