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A Study of the Diverse T Dwarf Population Revealed by WISE

Mace, Gregory N. and Kirkpatrick, J. Davy and Gelino, Christopher R. and Griffith, Roger L. and Mix, Katholeen and Beichman, Charles A. and Lowrance, Patrick J. (2013) A Study of the Diverse T Dwarf Population Revealed by WISE. Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 205 (1). Art. No. 6. ISSN 0067-0049.

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We report the discovery of 87 new T dwarfs uncovered with the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and 3 brown dwarfs with extremely red near-infrared colors that exhibit characteristics of both L and T dwarfs. Two of the new T dwarfs are likely binaries with L7 ± 1 primaries and mid-type T secondaries. In addition, our follow-up program has confirmed 10 previously identified T dwarfs and 4 photometrically selected L and T dwarf candidates in the literature. This sample, along with the previous WISE discoveries, triples the number of known brown dwarfs with spectral types later than T5. Using the WISE All-Sky Source Catalog we present updated color-color and color-type diagrams for all the WISE-discovered T and Y dwarfs. Near-infrared spectra of the new discoveries are presented along with spectral classifications. To accommodate later T dwarfs we have modified the integrated flux method of determining spectral indices to instead use the median flux. Furthermore, a newly defined J-narrow index differentiates the early-type Y dwarfs from late-type T dwarfs based on the J-band continuum slope. The K/J indices for this expanded sample show that 32% of late-type T dwarfs have suppressed K-band flux and are blue relative to the spectral standards, while only 11% are redder than the standards. Comparison of the Y/J and K/J index to models suggests diverse atmospheric conditions and supports the possible re-emergence of clouds after the L/T transition. We also discuss peculiar brown dwarfs and candidates that were found not to be substellar, including two young stellar objects and two active galactic nuclei. The substantial increase in the number of known late-type T dwarfs provides a population that will be used to test models of cold atmospheres and star formation. The coolest WISE-discovered brown dwarfs are the closest of their type and will remain the only sample of their kind for many years to come.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Mace, Gregory N.0000-0001-7875-6391
Kirkpatrick, J. Davy0000-0003-4269-260X
Beichman, Charles A.0000-0002-5627-5471
Lowrance, Patrick J.0000-0001-8014-0270
Additional Information:© 2013 American Astronomical Society. Received 2012 November 14; accepted 2013 January 15; published 2013 February 25. This publication makes use of data products from the Widefield Infrared Survey Explorer, which is a joint project of the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. We thank the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech for funds provided by the Visiting Graduate Fellowship. Observations presented herewere obtained under programs GN-2011A-Q-67 and GN-2011B-Q-7 at the Gemini Observatory,which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under a cooperative agreement with the NSF on behalf of the Gemini partnership: the National Science Foundation (United States), the Science and Technology Facilities Council (United Kingdom), the National Research Council (Canada), CONICYT (Chile), the Australian Research Council (Australia), Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação (Brazil), and Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovaciόn Productiva (Argentina). Some photometry in this paper is based on observations obtained at the Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope, which is a joint project of the Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia, e Inovação (MCTI) da República Federativa do Brasil, the U.S. National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), and Michigan State University (MSU). This publication also makes use of data products from 2MASS, SDSS, and UKIDSS. 2MASS is a joint project of the University of Massachusetts and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation. SDSS is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Participating Institutions, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Japanese Monbukagakusho, the Max Planck Society, and the Higher Education Funding Council for England. UKIDSS uses the Wide Field Camera at the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope atop Mauna Kea, HI. We are grateful for the efforts of the instrument, calibration, and pipeline teams that have made the UKIDSS data possible. We acknowledge use of the DSS, which were produced at the Space Telescope Science Institute under U.S. Government grant NAG W-2166. The images of these surveys are based on photographic data obtained using the Oschin Schmidt Telescope on Palomar Mountain and the UK Schmidt Telescope. This research has made use of the NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive (IRSA), which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Our research has benefited from the M, L, and T dwarf compendium housed at, whose server was funded by a NASA Small Research Grant, administered by the American Astronomical Society. The Brown Dwarf Spectroscopic Survey (BDSS) provided and essential comparison library for our moderate-resolution spectroscopy. We are also indebted to the SIMBAD database, operated at CDS, Strasbourg, France. This work is based in part on observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with NASA. Support for this work was provided by NASA through an award issued to program 70062 by JPL/Caltech. This work is also based in part on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. These observations are associated with program 12330. Support for program 12330 was provided by NASA through a grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute. Some of the spectroscopic data presented herein were obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation. In acknowledgement of our observing time at Keck and the IRTF, we further wish to recognize the very significant cultural role and reverence that the summit of Mauna Kea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community. We are most fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct observations from this mountain. We acknowledge use of PAIRITEL, which is operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) and was made possible by a grant from the Harvard University Milton Fund, the camera loaned from the University of Virginia, and the continued support of the SAO and UC Berkeley. The PAIRITEL project is supported by NASA Grant NNG06GH50G. This paper also includes data gathered with the 6.5 m Magellan Telescopes located at Las Campanas Observatory, Chile. We acknowledge fruitful discussions with Tim Conrow, Roc Cutri, and Frank Masci, and acknowledge assistance with Magellan/FIRE observations by Emily Bowsher. We thank the anonymous referee for detailed and thoughtful recommendations for improving this paper prior to publication.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Caltech Visiting Graduate FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Space Telescope Science InstituteNAG W-2166
NASANAS 5-26555
NASA Space Telescope Science InstituteUNSPECIFIED
W. M. Keck FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Harvard University Milton FundUNSPECIFIED
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:binaries: general; brown dwarfs; galaxies: active; infrared: stars; stars: low-mass
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130409-073125635
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Official Citation:A Study of the Diverse T Dwarf Population Revealed by WISE Gregory N. Mace et al. 2013 ApJS 205 6
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:37814
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:09 Apr 2013 15:26
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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