HN Peg B: A test of models of the L to T dwarf transition

S. K. Leggett, D. Saumon, Loic Albert, Michael C. Cushing, Michael C. Liu, K. L. Luhman, M. S. Marley, J. Davy Kirkpatrick, Thomas L. Roellig, K. N. Allers

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38 Scopus citations


Luhman and collaborators recently discovered an early-T dwarf companion to the GO dwarf star HN Peg, using Spitzer Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) images. Companionship was established on the basis of the common proper motion inferred from 1998 Two Micron All Sky Survey images and the 2004 IRAC images. In this paper we present new near-infrared imaging data which confirm the common proper motion of the system. We also present new 3 -4 μm spectroscopy of HN Peg B, which provides tighter constraints on both the bolometric luminosity determination and the comparison to synthetic spectra. New adaptive optics imaging data are also presented, which show the T dwarf to be unresolved, providing limits on the multiplicity of the object. We use the age, distance, and luminosity of the solar-metallicity T dwarf to determine its effective temperature and gravity, and compare synthetic spectra with these values, and a range of grain properties and vertical mixing, to the observed 0.8-4.0 μm spectra and mid-infrared photometry. We find that models with temperature and gravity appropriate for the older end of the age range of the system (0.5 Gyr) can do a reasonable job of fitting the data, but only if the photospheric condensate cloud deck is thin, and if there is significant vertical mixing in the atmosphere. Dwarfs such as HN Peg B, with well-determined metallicity, radius, gravity, and temperature, will allow development of dynamical atmosphere models, leading to the solution of the puzzle of the L to T dwarf transition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1256-1263
Number of pages8
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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