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Paper: Mid-Infrared Variability of a Nearby Brown Dwarf Binary System
Volume: 525, 2020 Compendium of Undergraduate Research in Astronomy and Space Science
Page: 51
Authors: Pena, M.; Radigan, J.
Abstract: We present a continuous, 60 hour light curve of Luhman 16 AB, obtained using the Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) on the Spitzer Space Telescope. As one of the Sun’s nearest neighbors, the Luhman 16 system (Luhman 2013) is relatively bright, which required a 2 s observing cadence, and resulted in over 110,000 unique images, which were processed using a custom photometry pipeline in Python. The resultant light curve spans nearly 12 rotation periods of the T0.5 secondary, alternating between the 3.6 and 4.5 μm IRAC channels. Although the binary system is unresolved with Spitzer, previous monitoring shows that the T0.5 secondary likely dominates the signal based on its spectral type. The rotation period of the secondary was measured to be 5.25 hours, but the period was difficult to determine precisely due to the rapidly evolving nature of the light curve, and possible contamination from the L7.5 primary. The shape of the light curve changes on timescales less than the rotation period, indicative of rapidly evolving clouds and complex weather patterns in the atmosphere of Luhman 16B. Future modeling efforts will shed light on the underlying physical mechanisms driving these weather patterns.
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