SpitzerIRAC Photometry of M, L, and T Dwarfs

Brian M. Patten, John R. Stauffer, Adam Burrows, Massimo Marengo, Joseph L. Hora, Kevin L. Luhman, Sarah M. Sonnett, Todd J. Henry, Deepak Raghavan, S. Thomas Megeath, James Liebert, Giovanni G. Fazio
2006 Astrophysical Journal  
We present the results of a program to acquire photometry for eighty-six late-M, L, and T dwarfs using the Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) on the Spitzer Space Telescope. We examine the behavior of these cool dwarfs in various color-color and color-magnitude diagrams composed of near-IR and IRAC data. The T dwarfs exhibit the most distinctive positions in these diagrams. In M_5.8 versus [5.8]-[8.0], the IRAC data for T dwarfs are not monotonic in either magnitude or color, giving the clearest
more » ... g the clearest indication yet that the T dwarfs are not a one parameter family in Teff. Because metallicity does not vary enough in the solar neighborhood to act as the second parameter, the most likely candidate then is gravity, which in turn translates to mass. Among objects with similar spectral type, the range of mass suggested by our sample is about a factor of five (~70 M_Jup to ~15 M_Jup), with the less massive objects making up the younger members of the sample. We also find the IRAC 4.5 micron fluxes to be lower than expected, from which we infer a stronger CO fundamental band at ~4.67 microns. This suggests that equilibrium CH_4/CO chemistry underestimates the abundance of CO in T dwarf atmospheres, confirming earlier results based on M-band observations from the ground. In combining IRAC photometry with near-IR JHK photometry and parallax data, we find the combination of Ks, IRAC 3.6 micron, and 4.5 micron bands to provide the best color-color discrimination for a wide range of M, L, and T dwarfs. Also noteworthy is the M_Ks versus Ks-[4.5] relation, which shows a smooth progression over spectral type and splits the M, L, and T types cleanly.
doi:10.1086/507264 fatcat:t4flu5dzorhznbpurnpaqj7pne