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Ultra-Cool Object Doppler Imaging: Analytical Model Validation and Demonstration

Presentation #102.109 in the session Poster Session.

Published onJun 20, 2022
Ultra-Cool Object Doppler Imaging: Analytical Model Validation and Demonstration

Extremely large telescopes provide an opportunity to observe surface inhomogeneities for ultra-cool objects including M Dwarfs, brown dwarfs, and gas giant planets via Doppler Imaging. These inhomogeneities can be caused by atmospheric clouds, bands, and vortices. Star spots and associated stellar flares play a significant role in habitability, either stifling life or catalyzing abiogenesis depending on the emission frequency, magnitude, and orientation. Clouds and vortices may be the source of spectral and photometric variability observed at the L/T transition and are expected in gas giant exoplanets. We develop and validate an analytical framework to model and infer photospheric inhomogeneities, and using archival spectroscopic and photometric data, we apply the method to generate global atmospheric maps for Luhman 16B (a nearby T Dwarf at ≈ 2 pc). We confirm previous findings that Luhman 16B’s atmosphere is inhomogeneous with time-varying features while also potentially identifying longer timescale atmospheric structures such as dark equatorial and bright polar spots. We discuss the implications for atmospheric circulation in ultra-cool objects as well as future opportunities for Doppler Imaging gas giant exoplanets.

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