- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- The Astrophysical Journal
- Page Range / eLocation ID:
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
More Like this
Abstract Direct imaging studies have mainly used low-resolution spectroscopy ( R ∼ 20–100) to study the atmospheres of giant exoplanets and brown dwarf companions, but the presence of clouds has often led to degeneracies in the retrieved atmospheric abundances (e.g., carbon-to-oxygen ratio, metallicity). This precludes clear insights into the formation mechanisms of these companions. The Keck Planet Imager and Characterizer (KPIC) uses adaptive optics and single-mode fibers to transport light into NIRSPEC ( R ∼ 35,000 in the K band), and aims to address these challenges with high-resolution spectroscopy. Using an atmospheric retrieval framework based on petitRADTRANS , we analyze the KPIC high-resolution spectrum (2.29–2.49 μ m) and the archival low-resolution spectrum (1–2.2 μ m) of the benchmark brown dwarf HD 4747 B ( m = 67.2 ± 1.8 M Jup , a = 10.0 ± 0.2 au, T eff ≈ 1400 K). We find that our measured C/O and metallicity for the companion from the KPIC high-resolution spectrum agree with those of its host star within 1 σ –2 σ . The retrieved parameters from the K -band high-resolution spectrum are also independent of our choice of cloud model. In contrast, the retrieved parameters from the low-resolution spectrum are highly sensitive to our chosen cloud model. Finally, we detect CO, H 2 O, and CH 4 (volume-mixing ratio of log(CH 4 ) = −4.82 ± 0.23) in this L/T transition companion with the KPIC data. The relative molecular abundances allow us to constrain the degree of chemical disequilibrium in the atmosphere of HD 4747 B, and infer a vertical diffusion coefficient that is at the upper limit predicted from mixing length theory.more » « less
Y dwarfs, the coolest known spectral class of brown dwarfs, overlap in mass and temperature with giant exoplanets, providing unique laboratories for studying low-temperature atmospheres. However, only a fraction of Y dwarf candidates have been spectroscopically confirmed. We present Keck/NIRES near-infrared spectroscopy of the nearby (
d≈ 6–8 pc) brown dwarf CWISE J105512.11+544328.3. Although its near-infrared spectrum aligns best with the Y0 standard in the Jband, no standard matches well across the full YJHKwavelength range. The CWISE J105512.11+544328.3 NH3- H= 0.427 ± 0.0012 and CH4- J= 0.0385 ± 0.0007 absorption indices and absolute Spitzer [4.5] magnitude of 15.18 ± 0.22 are also indicative of an early-Y dwarf rather than a late-T dwarf. CWISE J105512.11+544328.3 additionally exhibits the bluest Spitzer [3.6]−[4.5] color among all spectroscopically confirmed Y dwarfs. Despite this anomalously blue Spitzer color given its low luminosity, CWISE J105512.11+544328.3 does not show other clear kinematic or spectral indications of low metallicity. Atmospheric model comparisons yield a log( g) ≤ 4.5 and Teff≈ 500 ± 150 K for this source. We classify CWISE J105512.11+544328.3 as a Y0 (pec) dwarf, adding to the remarkable diversity of the Y-type population. JWST spectroscopy would be crucial to understanding the origin of this Y dwarf’s unusual preference for low-gravity models and blue 3–5 μm color.
We present results from an atmospheric retrieval analysis of Gl 229B using the Brewster retrieval code. We find the best fit model to be cloud-free, consistent with the T dwarf retrieval work of Line et al.; Zalesky et al. and Gonzales et al. Fundamental parameters (mass, radius, log(
LBol/ LSun), log( g)) determined from our model agree within 1 σto SED-derived values, except for Teffwhere our retrieved Teffis approximately 100 K cooler than the evolutionary model-based SED value. We find a retrieved mass of MJup, however, we also find that the observables of Gl 229B can be explained by a cloud-free model with a prior on mass at the dynamical value, 70 MJup. We are able to constrain abundances for H2O, CO, CH4, NH3, Na and K and find a supersolar C/O ratio as compared to its primary, Gl 229A. We report an overall subsolar metallicity due to atmospheric oxygen depletion, but find a solar [C/H], which matches that of the primary. We find that this work contributes to a growing trend in retrieval-based studies, particularly for brown dwarfs, toward supersolar C/O ratios and discuss the implications of this result on formation mechanisms and internal physical processes, as well as model biases.
Abstract About 70%–80% of stars in our solar and Galactic neighborhood are M dwarfs. They span a range of low masses and temperatures relative to solar-type stars, facilitating molecule formation throughout their atmospheres. Standard stellar atmosphere models primarily designed for FGK stars face challenges when characterizing broadband molecular features in spectra of cool stars. Here, we introduce SPHINX —a new 1D self-consistent radiative–convective thermochemical equilibrium chemistry model grid of atmospheres and spectra for M dwarfs in low resolution ( R ∼ 250). We incorporate the latest precomputed absorption cross sections with pressure broadening for key molecules dominant in late-K, early/main-sequence-M stars. We then validate our grid models by determining fundamental properties ( T eff , log g , [M/H], radius, and C/O) for 10 benchmark M+G binary stars with known host metallicities and 10 M dwarfs with interferometrically measured angular diameters. Incorporating the Gaussian process inference tool Starfish , we account for correlated and systematic noise in low-resolution (spectral stitching of SpeX, SNIFS, and STIS) observations and derive robust estimates of fundamental M-dwarf atmospheric parameters. Additionally, we assess the influence of photospheric heterogeneity on inferred [M/H] and find that it could explain some deviations from observations. We also probe whether the adopted convective mixing length parameter influences inferred radii, effective temperature, and [M/H] and again find that may explain discrepancies between interferometric observations and model-derived parameters for cooler M dwarfs. Mainly, we show the unique strength in leveraging broadband molecular absorption features occurring in low-resolution M dwarf spectra and demonstrate the ability to improve constraints on fundamental properties of exoplanet hosts and brown-dwarf companions.more » « less
Brown dwarf spectra offer vital testbeds for our understanding of the chemical and physical processes that sculpt substellar atmospheres. Recently, atmospheric retrieval approaches have been successfully applied to low-resolution (
R∼ 100) spectra of L, T, and Y dwarfs, yielding constraints on the chemical abundances and temperature structures of these atmospheres. Medium-resolution ( R∼ 103) spectra of brown dwarfs offer additional insight, as molecular features are more easily disentangled and the thermal structure of the upper atmosphere is better probed. We present results from a GPU-based retrieval analysis of a high signal-to-noise, medium-resolution ( R∼ 6000) FIRE spectrum from 0.85 to 2.5 μm of the T9 dwarf UGPS J072227.51–054031.2. At 60× higher spectral resolution than previous brown dwarf retrievals, a number of novel challenges arise. We examine the effect of different opacity sources, in particular for CH4. Furthermore, we find that flaws in the data like errors from order stitching can bias our constraints. We compare these retrieval results to those for an R∼ 100 spectrum of the same object, revealing how constraints on atmospheric abundances and temperatures improve by an order of magnitude or more with increased spectral resolution. In particular, we can constrain the abundance of H2S, which is undetectable at lower spectral resolution. While these medium-resolution retrievals offer the potential of precise, stellar-like constraints on atmospheric abundances (∼0.02 dex), our retrieved radius is unphysically small ( RJup), indicating shortcomings with our modeling framework. This work is an initial investigation into brown dwarf retrievals at medium spectral resolution, offering guidance for future ground-based studies and JWST observations.