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Let the Great World Spin: Revealing the Turbulent, Stormy Atmospheres of Giant Planet Analogs

Presentation #314.01 in the session “Brown Dwarfs 1”.

Published onJan 11, 2021
Let the Great World Spin: Revealing the Turbulent, Stormy Atmospheres of Giant Planet Analogs

Young brown dwarfs act as powerful analogs to the directly-imaged exoplanets, with similar temperatures, masses, ages and compositions. Photometric variability monitoring of brown dwarfs is a unique probe of their atmospheres as it is sensitive to condensate clouds as they rotate in and out of view. Variability has now been robustly observed in a range of L, T and Y spectral type brown dwarfs and more recently in planetary-mass companions and free-floating exoplanet analogs. Emerging as an important insight into brown dwarf and exoplanet atmospheric physics is evidence for a correlation between enhanced clouds and youth. We present results from the first large survey for mid-IR photometric variability in 26 young, low-mass brown dwarfs using the Spitzer Space Telescope. These unique, time-resolved variability monitoring data enable us to compare variability trends between younger and older brown dwarfs to definitively test the potential correlation between cloud-induced variability and youth in brown dwarfs.


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