Searching for photometric variability across the L, T & Y dwarf sequence

A. Rajan, P. A. Wilson, Jennifer Patience, F. Pont, R. J. De Rosa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


To investigate the atmospheres of ultracool brown dwarfs with temperatures covering the range of transiting and directly imaged planets, we have monitored a sample of 76 L, T and Y brown dwarfs for infrared photometric variability. This survey was conducted in the J-band using both the SOFI camera on the 3.5-m NTT and the SWIRC camera on the 6.5-m MMT. Each target was observed for a period ranging from 2.0 hours to 6.0 hours, covering a significant fraction of the expected rotation period. Breakup of the iron and silicate clouds into a patchy cloud layer has been suggested as an explanation for the variability of several objects identified at the L/T transition, and a similar process with sulfide clouds may be manifest in T/Y transition objects; our data provides the first test of these patchy cloud scenarios across the entire brown dwarf spectral range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationExploring the Formation and Evolution of Planetary Systems
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages2
ISBN (Print)9781107045200
StatePublished - Jun 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
ISSN (Print)1743-9213
ISSN (Electronic)1743-9221


  • Brown dwarfs
  • Stars: low-mass
  • Stars:variables:others
  • Techniques: photometric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Space and Planetary Science


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