Friday, November 3, 2017

Cloudless atmospheres for young low-gravity substellar objects

Cloudless atmospheres for young low-gravity substellar objects


Tremblin et al

Atmospheric modeling of low-gravity (VL-G) young brown dwarfs remains a challenge. The presence of very thick clouds has been suggested because of their extremely red near-infrared (NIR) spectra, but no cloud models provide a good fit to the data with a radius compatible with evolutionary models for these objects. We show that cloudless atmospheres assuming a temperature gradient reduction caused by fingering convection provides a very good model to match the observed VL-G NIR spectra. The sequence of extremely red colors in the NIR for atmospheres with effective temperature from ~2000 K down to ~1200 K is very well reproduced with predicted radii typical of young low-gravity objects. Future observations with NIRSPEC and MIRI on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will provide more constrains in the mid-infrared, helping to confirm/refute whether or not the NIR reddening is caused by fingering convection. We suggest that the presence/absence of clouds will be directly determined by the silicate absorption features that can be observed with MIRI. JWST will therefore be able to better characterize the atmosphere of these hot young brown dwarfs and their low-gravity exoplanet analogues.

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