Meeting the Cool Neighbors. VIII. A Preliminary 20 Parsec Census from the NLTT Catalogue

I. Neill Reid, Kelle L. Cruz, Peter Allen, F. Mungall, D. Kilkenny, James Liebert, Suzanne L. Hawley, Oliver J. Fraser, Kevin R. Covey, Patrick Lowrance, J. Davy Kirkpatrick, Adam J. Burgasser
2004 Astronomical Journal  
Continuing our census of late-type dwarfs in the Solar Neighbourhood, we present BVRI photometry and optical spectroscopy of 800 mid-type M dwarfs drawn from the NLTT proper motion catalogue. The targets are taken from both our own cross-referencing of the NLTT catalogue and the 2MASS Second Incremental release, and from the revised NLTT compiled by Salim & Gould (2003). All are identified as nearby-star candidates based on their location in the (m_r, (m_r-K_S)) diagram. Three hundred stars
more » ... e hundred stars discussed here have previous astrometric, photometric or spectroscopic observations. We present new BVRI photometry for 101 stars, together with low resolution spectroscopy of a further 400 dwarfs. In total, we find that 241 stars are within 20 parsecs of the Sun, while a further 70 lie within 1-sigma of our distance limit. Combining the present results with previous analyses, we have quantitative observations for 1910 of the 1913 candidates in our NLTT nearby-star samples. Eight hundred and fifteen of those stars have distance estimates of 20 parsecs or less, including 312 additions to the local census. With our NLTT follow-up observations essentially complete, we have searched the literature for K and early-type M dwarfs within the sampling volume covered by the 2MASS Second Release. Comparing the resultant 20-parsec census against predicted numbers, derived from the 8-parsec luminosity function, shows an overall deficit of ~20% for stellar systems and ~35% for individual stars. Almost all are likely to be fainter than M_J=7, and at least half are probably companions of known nearby stars. Our results suggest that there are relatively few missing systems at the lowest luminosities, M_J > 8.5. We discuss possible means of identifying the missing stars.
doi:10.1086/421374 fatcat:jknnhkfs35dhhph7ncucavcs4i