The ultracool dwarf DENIS-P J104814.7-395606
Chromospheres and coronae at the low-mass end of the main-sequence
B. Stelzer1, J. Alcalá2, K. Biazzo2, B. Ercolano3, I. Crespo-Chacón4, J. López-Santiago4, R. Martínez-Arnáiz4, J. H. M. M. Schmitt5, E. Rigliaco6, F. Leone7 and G. Cupani8
1 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo, Piazza del Parlamento 1, 90134 Palermo Italy
2 INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico Capodimonte, Salita Moiariello 16, 80131 Napoli, Italy
3 Universitätssternwarte München, Scheinerstrasse 1, 81679 München, Germany
4 Dpto. de Astrofísica y Ciencias de la Atmósfera, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
5 Hamburger Sternwarte, Gojenbergsweg 112, 21029 Hamburg, Germany
6 Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, 1629 E. University Blvd, AZ 85721 Tucson, USA
7 INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Catania, via S.Sofia 78, 95123 Catania, Italy
8 INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste, via G.B. Tiepolo 11, 34143 Trieste, Italy
Received: 15 September 2011
Accepted: 22 November 2011
Context. Several diagnostics ranging from the radio to the X-ray band are suitable for investigating the magnetic activity of late-type stars. Empirical connections between the emission at different wavelengths place constraints on the nature and efficiency of the emission mechanism and the physical conditions in different atmospheric layers. The activity of ultracool dwarfs, at the low-mass end of the main-sequence, is poorly understood.
Aims. We perform a multi-wavelength study of one of the nearest M9 dwarfs, DENIS-P J104814.7-395606 (4 pc), to examine its position within the group of magnetically active ultracool dwarfs, and, in general, advance our understanding of these objects by comparing them to early-M type dwarf stars and the Sun.
Methods. We obtained an XMM-Newton observation of DENIS-P J104814.7-395606 and a broad-band spectrum from the ultraviolet to the near-infrared with X-Shooter. From this dataset, we derive the X-ray properties, stellar parameters, kinematics, and the emission-line spectrum tracing chromospheric activity. We integrate these data by compiling the activity parameters of ultracool dwarfs from the literature.
Results. Our deep XMM-Newton observation provides the first X-ray detection of DENIS-P J104814.7-395606 (log Lx = 25.1), as well as the first measurement of its V band brightness (V = 17.35 mag). The flux-flux relations between X-ray and chromospheric activity indicators are here for the first time extended into the regime of the ultracool dwarfs. The approximate agreement of DENIS-P J104814.7-395606 and other ultracool dwarfs with flux-flux relations for early-M dwarfs suggests that the same heating mechanisms work in the atmospheres of ultracool dwarfs, albeit weaker as judged from their lower fluxes. The observed Balmer decrements of DENIS 1048-3956 are compatible with optically thick plasma in local thermal equilibrium (LTE) at low, nearly photospheric temperature or optically thin LTE plasma at 20 000 K. Describing the decrements with case B recombination requires different emitting regions for Hα and the higher Balmer lines. The high observed Hα/Hβ flux ratio is also poorly fitted by the optically thin models. We derive a similarly high value for the Hα/Hβ ratio of vB 10 and LHS 2065 and conclude that this may be a characteristic of ultracool dwarfs. We add DENIS-P J104814.7-395606 to the list of ultracool dwarfs detected in both the radio and the X-ray band. The Benz-Güdel relation between radio and X-ray luminosity of late-type stars is well-known to be violated by ultracool dwarfs. We speculate on the presence of two types of ultracool dwarfs with distinct radio and X-ray behaviors.
Key words: stars: late-type / X-rays: stars / stars: activity / stars: coronae / stars: individual: DENIS-P J104814.7-395606 / stars: chromospheres
© ESO, 2012