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Let The Great World Spin: Revealing the Stormy, Turbulent Nature of Giant Exoplanet Analogs with the Spitzer Space Telescope

Presentation #102.206 in the session Poster Session.

Published onJun 20, 2022
Let The Great World Spin: Revealing the Stormy, Turbulent Nature of Giant Exoplanet Analogs with the Spitzer Space Telescope

Young, isolated brown dwarfs act as powerful analogs to the directly-imaged exoplanets. Their observed colors and spectra are remarkably similar, and they share fundamental properties such as age, mass and temperature. Photometric variability monitoring uniquely probes brown dwarf atmospheres as it is sensitive to the presence of inhomogeneous condensate cloud structures. Variability has been observed across the full L-T-Y sequence and more recently in planetary-mass companions and isolated 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 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 young and old brown dwarfs to definitively test the correlation between cloud-induced variability and youth in brown dwarfs. By combining measured rotation periods of this unique, age-calibrated sample with the rich literature of brown dwarf rotation periods, we can trace the angular momentum evolution of brown dwarfs and planetary-mass objects, extending gyrochronology to the substellar and planetary regimes. This Spitzer legacy survey will directly inform future variability searches in directly-imaged exoplanets with next-generation facilities such as the James Webb Space Telescope.

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