Friday, October 13, 2017

Emission lines in the atmosphere of the irradiated brown dwarf WD0137-349B

Emission lines in the atmosphere of the irradiated brown dwarf WD0137-349B


Longstaff et al


We present new optical and near-infrared spectra of WD0137-349; a close white dwarf - brown dwarf non-interacting binary system with a period of ≈114 minutes. We have confirmed the presence of Hα emission and discovered He, Na, Mg, Si, K, Ca, Ti, and Fe emission lines originating from the brown dwarf atmosphere. This is the first brown dwarf atmosphere to have been observed to exhibit metal emission lines as a direct result of intense irradiation. The equivalent widths of many of these lines show a significant difference between the day and night sides of the brown dwarf. This is likely an indication that efficient heat redistribution may not be happening on this object, in agreement with models of hot Jupiter atmospheres. The Hα line strength variation shows a strong phase dependency as does the width. We have simulated the Ca II emission lines using a model that includes the brown dwarf Roche geometry and limb darkening and we estimate the mass ratio of the system to be 0.135±0.004. We also apply a gas-phase equilibrium code using a prescribed DRIFT-PHOENIX model to examine how the chemical composition of the brown dwarf upper atmosphere would change given an outward temperature increase, and discuss the possibility that this would induce a chromosphere above the brown dwarf atmosphere.

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