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  1. Abstract

    Comparisons of atmospheric retrievals can reveal powerful insights on the strengths and limitations of our data and modeling tools. In this paper, we examine a sample of five L dwarfs of similar effective temperature (Teff) or spectral type to compare their pressure–temperature (P-T) profiles. Additionally, we explore the impact of an object’s metallicity and the signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) of the observations on the parameters we can retrieve. We present the first atmospheric retrievals: 2MASS J15261405+2043414, 2MASS J05395200−0059019, 2MASS J15394189−0520428, and GD 165B increasing the small but growing number of L dwarfs retrieved. When compared to the atmospheric retrievals of SDSS J141624.08+134826.7, a low-metallicity d/sdL7 primary in a wide L+T binary, we find that similarTeffsources have similar P-T profiles with metallicity differences impacting the relative offset between their P-T profiles in the photosphere. We also find that for near-infrared spectra, when the S/N is ≳80 we are in a regime where model uncertainties dominate over data measurement uncertainties. As such, S/N does not play a role in the retrieval’s ability to distinguish between a cloud-free and cloudless model, but may impact the confidence of the retrieved parameters. Lastly, we also discuss how to break cloud model degeneracies and the impactmore »of extraneous gases in a retrieval model.

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  2. ABSTRACT We present the most detailed data-driven exploration of cloud opacity in a substellar object to-date. We have tested over 60 combinations of cloud composition and structure, particle-size distribution, scattering model, and gas phase composition assumptions against archival 1–15 μm spectroscopy for the unusually red L4.5 dwarf 2MASSW J2224438-015852 using the Brewster retrieval framework. We find that, within our framework, a model that includes enstatite and quartz cloud layers at shallow pressures, combined with a deep iron cloud deck fits the data best. This model assumes a Hansen distribution for particle sizes for each cloud, and Mie scattering. We retrieved particle effective radii of $\log _{10} a {\rm (\mu m)} = -1.41^{+0.18}_{-0.17}$ for enstatite, $-0.44^{+0.04}_{-0.20}$ for quartz, and $-0.77^{+0.05}_{-0.06}$ for iron. Our inferred cloud column densities suggest ${\rm (Mg/Si)} = 0.69^{+0.06}_{-0.08}$ if there are no other sinks for magnesium or silicon. Models that include forsterite alongside, or in place of, these cloud species are strongly rejected in favour of the above combination. We estimate a radius of 0.75 ± 0.02 RJup, which is considerably smaller than predicted by evolutionary models for a field age object with the luminosity of 2M2224-0158. Models which assume vertically constant gas fractions are consistently preferred over models that assume thermochemical equilibrium.more »From our retrieved gas fractions, we infer ${\rm [M/H]} = +0.38^{+0.07}_{-0.06}$ and ${\rm C/O} = 0.83^{+0.06}_{-0.07}$. Both these values are towards the upper end of the stellar distribution in the Solar neighbourhood, and are mutually consistent in this context. A composition towards the extremes of the local distribution is consistent with this target being an outlier in the ultracool dwarf population.« less
  3. Abstract Through the Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 citizen science project we discovered a late-type L dwarf co-moving with the young K0 star BD+60 1417 at a projected separation of 37″ or 1662 au. The secondary—CWISER J124332.12+600126.2 (W1243)—is detected in both the CatWISE2020 and 2MASS reject tables. The photometric distance and CatWISE proper motion both match that of the primary within ∼1 σ and our estimates for a chance alignment yield a zero probability. Follow-up near-infrared spectroscopy reveals W1243 to be a very red 2MASS ( J – K s = 2.72), low surface gravity source that we classify as L6–L8 γ . Its spectral morphology strongly resembles that of confirmed late-type L dwarfs in 10–150 Myr moving groups as well as that of planetary mass companions. The position on near- and mid-infrared color–magnitude diagrams indicates the source is redder and fainter than the field sequence, a telltale sign of an object with thick clouds and a complex atmosphere. For the primary we obtained new optical spectroscopy and analyzed all available literature information for youth indicators. We conclude that the Li i abundance, its loci on color–magnitude and color–color diagrams, and the rotation rate revealed in multiple TESS sectors are allmore »consistent with an age of 50–150 Myr. Using our re-evaluated age of the primary and the Gaia parallax, along with the photometry and spectrum for W1243, we find T eff = 1303 ± 31 K, log g = 4.3 ± 0.17 cm s −2 , and a mass of 15 ± 5 M Jup . We find a physical separation of ∼1662 au and a mass ratio of ∼0.01 for this system. Placing it in the context of the diverse collection of binary stars, brown dwarfs, and planetary companions, the BD+60 1417 system falls in a sparsely sampled area where the formation pathway is difficult to assess.« less