EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 456, Number 1, September II 2006
Page(s) 253 - 259
Section Stellar structure and evolution
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20054186

A&A 456, 253-259 (2006)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20054186

Resolved Hubble space spectroscopy of ultracool binary systems

E. L. Martín1, 2, W. Brandner3, H. Bouy1, G. Basri4, J. Davis2, R. Deshpande2 and M. M. Montgomery2

1  Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, 38200 La Laguna, Spain
    e-mail: ege@iac.es
2  University of Central Florida, Dept. of Physics, PO Box 162385, Orlando, FL 32816-2385, USA
3  Max-Planck Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
4  Astronomy Department, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA

(Received 9 September 2005 / Accepted 19 April 2006)

Using the low-resolution mode of the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) aboard the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), we obtain spectra from 20 spatially-resolved, ultracool dwarfs, eighteen of which belong to nine very low-mass binary systems with known angular separations in the range 0$\farcs$37-0$\farcs$098. For these dwarfs, we derive their spectral types to be in the range dM7.5 to dL6 by either obtaining their PC3 index value or by comparing our STIS spectra with ground-based spectra of similar spectral resolution from Martín et al. (1999b). We have searched for H$_\alpha$ emission in each object, but the emission is clearly detected in only two of them. We find that the distribution of H$_\alpha$ emission in our sample is statistically different from that of single field dwarfs, suggesting an intriguing anti-correlation between chromospheric activity and binarity for M7-M9.5 dwarfs. We provide strength measuments of the main photospheric features. We derive calibrations of spectral subclasses versus $\it F814W$ and K-band absolute magnitudes for a subset of 10 dwarfs in 5 binaries that have known trigonometric parallaxes.

Key words: stars: low-mass, brown dwarfs -- stars: late-type -- techniques: spectroscopic -- stars: binaries: visual -- Galaxy: solar neighbourhood -- stars: fundamental parameters

© ESO 2006

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