Spectral comparison of directly imaged, young substellar companions using integral field spectroscopy - construction of an empiric log g sequence


Tobias Schmidt (1) Ralph Neuhäuser (1) Andreas Seifahrt (2)


(1) Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Germany; (2) University of California, Davis, USA


About 15 substellar companions with large separations (> 50 AU) to their young primary stars and brown dwarfs are confirmed by both common proper motion and late-M / early-L type spectra. The origin and early evolution of these objects is still under debate. While often these substellar companions are regarded as brown dwarfs, they could possibly also be massive planets, the mass estimates are very uncertain so far. They are companions to primary stars or brown dwarfs in young associations and star forming regions like the TW Hya association, Upper Scorpius, Taurus, Beta Pic moving group, TucHor association, Lupus, Ophiuchus, and Chamaeleon, hence their ages and distances are well known, in contrast to free-floating brown dwarfs. An empirical classification is not possible, because a spectral sequence that is taking the lower gravity into account, is not existing. This problem leads to an apparent mismatch between spectra of old field type objects and young low-mass companions at the same effective temperature, hampering a determination of temperature and surface gravity independent from models. Now that about 15 such substellar candidates are found in associations of different ages, 1 - 35 Myrs, it is possible to study their spectra in comparison to each other using the advantage of light concentration by an adaptive optics system with their primary as guide star. Therefore we have begun the construction of an empirical log g sequence from beginning to observe all these substellar companions homogeneously using the AO-assisted integral field spectrograph SINFONI at VLT (ESO).

Attached documents

Lyot2010proc s2 talk SchmidtT.pdf
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