Protostars and Planets VI, Heidelberg, July 15-20, 2013

Poster 1K072

Observation vs. theory: testing the synthetic IR colours of young very low mass stars/brown dwarfs using the evolutionary tracks

Tottle, Jonathan (Imperial College London)
Mohanty, Subhanjoy (Imperial College London)

Our ability to accurately derive stellar properties from spectral energy distributions (SEDs) depends on how well they can be fit with atmospheric models. The AMES-Dusty synthetic spectra (Allard et al., 2001), which incorporate dust grains suspended in the stellar atmosphere, are commonly used to fit SEDs of very low mass stars (VLMS) and brown dwarfs (BDs). Recently, the same group has produced an updated model named BT-Settl (Allard et al., 2012) that allow these grains to gradually settle out of the atmosphere at cooler temperatures. Using these models it is now possible to produce the NIR colours across the main sequence from spectral types M to T. However, one significant area in which these Dusty and Settl models have not been thoroughly tested is in PMS VLMS/BDs. We use empirical IR colours of PMS M-dwarfs to show that both of these models show significant discrepancies with observations. We find that the synthetic spectra imply a temperature up to 500K cooler than expected for these objects from the theoretical evolutionary tracks for their estimated ages. We postulate that the problem lies mainly with the spectra; and if so, we conjecture that an incorrect H2O opacity may be to blame, aided by additional dust effects.

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