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Published September 2007 | Published + Submitted
Journal Article Open

Sporadic long-term variability in radio activity from a brown dwarf


Context. Radio activity has been observed in a large variety of stellar objects, including in the last few years, ultra-cool dwarfs. Aims. To explore the extent of long-term radio activity in ultra-cool dwarfs. Methods. We use data taken over an extended period of 9 hr from the Very Large Array of the source 2MASS J05233822-1403022 in September 2006, plus data taken in 2004. Results. The observation taken in September 2006 failed to detect any radio activity at 8.46 GHz. A closer inspection of earlier data reveals that the source varied from a null detection on 3 May 2004, to ≈95 µJy on 17 May 2004, to 230 µJy on 18 June 2004. The lack of detection in September 2006 suggests at least a factor of ten flux variability at 8.46 GHz. Three short photometric runs did not reveal any optical variability. Conclusions. In addition to the observed pulsing nature of the radio flux from another ultra-cool source, the present observations suggests that ultra-cool dwarfs may not just be pulsing but can also display long-term sporadic variability in their levels of quiescent radio emission. The lack of optical photometric variability suggests an absence of large-scale spots at the time of the latest VLA observations, although small very high latitude spots combined with a low inclination could cause very low amplitude rotational modulation which may not be measurable. We discuss this large variability in the radio emission within the context of both gyrosynchrotron emission and the electron-cyclotron maser, favoring the latter mechanism.

Additional Information

© 2007 ESO. Article published by EDP Sciences. Received 2 February 2007; Accepted 11 June 2007. Armagh Observatory is grant-aided by the N. Ireland Dept. of Culture, Arts & Leisure. The authors thank Stephen Bourke for his help with IRAF and Kathlin Olah for advice on spot modelling. We also gratefully acknowledge the support of the HEA funded Cosmogrid project and Enterprise Ireland under the grant award SC/2001/0322, plus PPARC for a visitor grant.

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Published - aa7231-07.pdf

Submitted - 0707.0634v1.pdf


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August 19, 2023
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