A U-band survey of brown dwarfs in the Taurus molecular cloud with the XMM-Newton optical/UV monitor
Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Grenoble, Université Joseph-Fourier, 38041 Grenoble Cedex 9, France e-mail: Nicolas.Grosso@obs.ujf-grenoble.fr
2 Columbia Astrophysics Laboratory, Columbia University, 550 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027, USA
3 Paul Scherrer Institut, 5232 Villigen und Würenlingen, Switzerland
Accepted: 16 June 2006
Aims.We aim to characterize the U-band variability of young brown dwarfs in the Taurus Molecular Cloud and discuss its origin.
Methods.We used the XMM-Newton Extended Survey of the Taurus Molecular Cloud, where a sample of 11 young bona fide brown dwarfs (spectral type later than M 6) were observed simultaneously in X-rays with XMM-Newton and in the U-band with the XMM-Newton Optical/UV Monitor (OM).
Results.We obtained upper limits to the U-band emission of 10 brown dwarfs (U ≥ 19.6–20.6 mag), whereas 2MASS J04141188+2811535 was detected in the U-band. Remarkably, the magnitude of this brown dwarf increased regularly from U ~ 19.5 mag at the beginning of the observation, peaked 6h later at U ~ 18.4 mag, and then decreased to U ~ 18.65 mag in the next 2 h. The first OM U-band measurement is consistent with the quiescent level observed about one year later thanks to ground follow-up observations. This brown dwarf was not detected in X-rays by XMM-Newton during the OM observation.
Conclusions.We discuss the possible sources of U-band variability for this young brown dwarf, namely a magnetic flare, non-steady accretion onto the substellar surface, and rotational modulation of a hot spot. We conclude that this event is related to accretion from a circumsubstellar disk, where the mass accretion rate was about a factor of 3 higher than during the quiescent level.
Key words: stars: low-mass, brown dwarfs / stars: individual: 2MASS J04141188+2811535 / X-rays: stars / ISM: individual objects: the Taurus Molecular Cloud
© ESO, 2007