Volume 498, Number 1, April IV 2009
|Page(s)||281 - 287|
|Published online||19 March 2009|
Short-term spectroscopic monitoring of two cool dwarfs with strong magnetic fields*
Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg, Sternwarte 5, 07778 Tautenburg, Germany e-mail: email@example.com
2 Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, C/vía Láctea, s/n, 38205 La Laguna (Tenerife), Spain
3 Department of Astronomy, University of Minnesota, 116 Church St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
Accepted: 10 December 2008
Context. There is now growing evidence that some brown dwarfs (BDs) have very strong magnetic fields, and yet their surface temperatures are so low that the coupling is expected to be small between the matter and the magnetic field in the atmosphere. In the deeper layers, however, the coupling is expected to be much stronger.
Aims. This raises the question of whether the magnetic field still leads to the formation of structures in the photosphere and of a solar-like chromosphere and corona.
Methods. We carried out a spectroscopic monitoring campaign in which we observed ultracool dwarfs that have strong magnetic fields: the BD LP944-20 and 2MASSW J0036159+182110. The objects were monitored over several rotation periods spectroscopically. LP944-20 was observed simultaneously in the optical and in the near infrared regime, 2MASSW J0036159+182110 only in the infrared. From the spectra, we determined the temperature of the objects in each spectrum, and measured the equivalent width in a number of diagnostically important lines. Temperature variations would indicate the presence of warm and cold regions, variations in the equivalent widths of photospheric lines are sensitive to the structure of cloud layers, and Hα is a diagnostic for chromospheric structures.
Results. Both dwarfs turned out to be remarkably constant. In the case of LP944-20, the Teff-variations are ≤50 K, and the rms-variations in the equivalent widths of Hα small. We also find that the equivalent widths of photospheric lines are remarkably constant. We did not find any significant variations in the case of 2MASSW J0036159+182110 either. Thus the most important result is that no significant variability was found at the time of our observations. We find that Hα-line is in emission but the equivalent width is only Å. When comparing our spectra with spectra taken over the past 11 years, we recognize significant changes during this time.
Conclusions. We interpret these results as evidence that the photosphere of these objects are remarkably homogeneous, with only little structure in them, and despite the strong magnetic fields. Thus, unlike active stars, there are no prominent spots on these objects.
Key words: stars: low-mass, brown dwarfs / stars: activity / stars: individual: LP944-50 / stars: magnetic fields / stars: individual: 2MASSW J0036159+182110
Partly based on observations obtained at the European Southern Observatory at La Silla, Chile in programs 078.C-0161(A) and 078.C-0161(B), and partly based on observations collected at the Centro Astronómico Hispano Alemán /CAHA) at Calar Alto, operated jointly by the Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie and the the Insituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (CSIC).
© ESO, 2009
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