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    At the lowest masses, the distinction between brown dwarfs and giant exoplanets is often blurred and literature classifications rarely reflect the deuterium burning boundary. Atmospheric characterization may reveal the extent to which planetary formation pathways contribute to the population of very low mass brown dwarfs, by revealing whether their abundance distributions differ from those of the local field population or, in the case of companions, their primary stars. The T8 dwarf Ross 458c is a possible planetary-mass companion to a pair of M dwarfs, and previous work suggests that it is cloudy. We here present the results of the retrieval analysis of Ross 458c, using archival spectroscopic data in the 1.0–2.4 µm range. We test a cloud-free model as well as a variety of cloudy models and find that the atmosphere of Ross 458c is best described by a cloudy model (strongly preferred). The CH4/H2O is higher than expected at $1.97^{+0.13}_{-0.14}$. This value is challenging to understand in terms of equilibrium chemistry and plausible carbon-to-oxygen (C/O) ratios. Comparisons to thermochemical grid models suggest a C/O of ≈1.35, if CH4 and H2O are quenched at 2000 K, requiring vigorous mixing. We find a [C/H] ratio of +0.18, which matches the metallicity of the primarymore »system, suggesting that oxygen is missing from the atmosphere. Even with extreme mixing, the implied C/O is well beyond the typical stellar regime, suggesting either a non-stellar formation pathway or the sequestration of substantial quantities of oxygen via hitherto unmodelled chemistry or condensation processes.

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  2. Abstract

    With infrared flux contrasts larger than typically seen in hot Jupiter, tidally locked white dwarf–brown dwarf binaries offer a superior opportunity to investigate atmospheric processes in irradiated atmospheres. NLTT5306 is such a system, with aMBD= 52 ± 3MJupbrown dwarf, orbiting aTeff= 7756 ± 35 K white dwarf with an ultra-short period of ∼102 minutes. We present Hubble Space Telescope/Wide Field Camera 3 spectroscopic phase curves of NLTT5306, consisting of 47 spectra from 1.1 to 1.7μm with an average signal-to-noise ratio ∼ 65 per wavelength. We extracted the phase-resolved spectra of the brown dwarf NLTT5306B, finding a small <100 K day–night temperature difference (∼5% of the average day-side temperature). Our best-fit model phase curves revealed a complex wavelength-dependence on amplitudes and relative phase offsets, suggesting longitudinal–vertical atmospheric structure. The night-side spectrum was well fit by a cloudy, nonirradiated atmospheric model while the day side was best matched by a cloudy, weakly irradiated model. Additionally, we created a simple radiative energy redistribution model of the atmosphere and found evidence for efficient day-to-night heat redistribution and a moderately high Bond albedo. We also discovered an internal heat flux much higher than expected given the published system age, leading to an age reassessmentmore »that resulted in NLTT5306B most likely being much younger. We find that NLTT5306B is the only known significantly irradiated brown dwarf where the global temperature structure is not dominated by external irradiation, but rather its own internal heat. Our study provides an essential insight into the drivers of global circulation and day-to-night heat transport as a function of irradiation, rotation rate, and internal heat.

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    We present a L-band (2.98–3.96 $\mu$m) spectroscopic study of eight young L dwarfs with spectral types ranging from L2 to L7. Our spectra (λ/Δλ ≈ 250–600) were collected using the Gemini near-infrared spectrograph. We first examine the young L-band spectral sequence, most notably analysing the evolution of the Q-branch of methane absorption feature at 3.3 $\mu$m. We find the Q-branch feature first appears between L3 and L6, as previously seen in older field dwarfs. Secondly, we analyse how well various atmospheric models reproduce the Lband and published near-IR (0.7–2.5 $\mu$m) spectra of our objects by fitting five different grids of model spectra to the data. Best-fit parameters for the combined near-IR and L-band data are compared to best-fit parameters for just the near-IR data, isolating the impact that the addition of the L band has on the results. This addition notably causes a ∼100 K drop in the best-fit effective temperature. Also, when clouds and a vertical mixing rate (Kzz) are included in the models, thick clouds, and higher Kzz values are preferred. Five of our objects also have previously published effective temperatures and surface gravities derived using evolutionary models, age estimates, and bolometric luminosities. Comparing model spectra matching these parameters to our spectra,more »we find disequilibrium chemistry and clouds are needed to match these published effective temperatures. Three of these objects are members of AB Dor, allowing us to show the temperature dependence of the Q-branch of methane.

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  4. Evans, Christopher J. ; Bryant, Julia J. ; Motohara, Kentaro (Ed.)
  5. 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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  6. Abstract

    We use observations with the infrared-optimized Magellan Adaptive Optics (MagAO) system and Clio camera in 3.9μm light to place stringent mass constraints on possible undetected companions to Sirius A. We suppress the light from Sirius A by imaging it through a grating vector-apodizing phase plate coronagraph with a 180° dark region (gvAPP-180). To remove residual starlight in postprocessing, we apply a time-domain principal-components-analysis-based algorithm we call PCA-Temporal, which uses eigen time series rather than eigenimages to subtract starlight. By casting the problem in terms of eigen time series, we reduce the computational cost of postprocessing the data, enabling the use of the fully sampled data set for improved contrast at small separations. We also discuss the impact of retaining fine temporal sampling of the data on final contrast limits. We achieve postprocessed contrast limits of 1.5 × 10−6–9.8 × 10−6outside of 0.″75, which correspond to planet masses of 2.6–8.0MJ. These are combined with values from the recent literature of high-contrast imaging observations of Sirius to synthesize an overall completeness fraction as a function of mass and separation. After synthesizing these recent studies and our results, the final completeness analysis rules out 99% of ≥9MJplanets from 2.5 to 7 au.

  7. Abstract

    We present an atmospheric retrieval analysis of a pair of highly variable, ∼200 Myr old, early T type planetary-mass exoplanet analogs SIMP J01365662+0933473 and 2MASS J21392676+0220226 using the Brewster retrieval framework. Our analysis, which makes use of archival 1–15μm spectra, finds almost identical atmospheres for both objects. For both targets, we find that the data is best described by a patchy, high-altitude forsterite (Mg2SiO4) cloud above a deeper, optically thick iron (Fe) cloud. Our model constrains the cloud properties well, including the cloud locations and cloud particle sizes. We find that the patchy forsterite slab cloud inferred from our retrieval may be responsible for the spectral behavior of the observed variability. Our retrieved cloud structure is consistent with the atmospheric structure previously inferred from spectroscopic variability measurements, but clarifies this picture significantly. We find consistent C/O ratios for both objects, which supports their formation within the same molecular cloud in the Carina-Near moving group. Finally, we note some differences in the constrained abundances of H2O and CO, which may be caused by data quality and/or astrophysical processes such as auroral activity and their differing rotation rates. The results presented in this work provide a promising preview of the detailmore »with which we will characterize extrasolar atmospheres with JWST, which will yield higher-quality spectra across a wider wavelength range.

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  8. Mérand, Antoine ; Sallum, Stephanie ; Sanchez-Bermudez, Joel (Ed.)
  9. Abstract The detection of disk-integrated polarization from Luhman 16 A and B in the H band, and subsequent modeling, has been interpreted in the framework of zonal cloud bands on these bodies. Recently, Tan and Showman investigated the 3D atmospheric circulation and cloud structures of brown dwarfs with general circulation models (GCMs), and their simulations yielded complex cloud distributions showing some aspects of zonal jets, but also complex vortices that cannot be captured by a simple model. Here we use these 3D GCMs specific to Luhman 16 A and B, along with the 3D Monte Carlo radiative transfer code ARTES, to calculate their polarization signals. We adopt the 3D temperature–pressure and cloud profiles from the GCMs as our input atmospheric structures. Our polarization calculations at 1.6 μ m agree well with the measured degree of linear polarization from both Luhman 16 A and B. Our calculations reproduce the measured polarization for both objects with cloud particle sizes between 0.5 and 1 μ m for Luhman 16 A and of 5 μ m for Luhman 16 B. We find that the degree of linear polarization can vary on hour-long timescales over the course of a rotation period. We also show thatmore »models with azimuthally symmetric band-like cloud geometries, typically used for interpreting polarimetry observations of brown dwarfs, overpredict the polarization signal if the cloud patterns do not include complex vortices within these bands. This exploratory work shows that GCMs are promising for modeling and interpreting polarization signals of brown dwarfs.« less