Variable Accretion and Outflow in Young Brown Dwarfs

Alexander Scholz, R Jayawardhana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We report on the first dedicated monitoring campaign of spectroscopic variability in young brown dwarfs. Highresolution optical spectra of six targets in nearby star-forming regions were obtained over 11 nights between 2005 January and March on the Magellan 6.5 m telescope. We find significant variability in H alpha and a number of other emission lines related to accretion and outflow processes on a variety of timescales ranging from hours to weeks to years. The most dramatic changes are seen for 2MASS J1207334-393254 (2M 1207), 2MASS J11013205-7718249 (2M 1101), and Cha I-ISO 217. We observe possible accretion rate changes by about an order of magnitude in two of these objects, over timescales of weeks (2M 1207) or hours (2M 1101). The accretion "burst'' seen in 2M 1101 could be due to a "clumpy'' flow. We also see indications for changes in the outflow rate in at least three objects. In one case (ISO 217), there appears to be a similar to 1 hr time lag between outflow and accretion variations, consistent with a scenario in which the wind forms at the inner disk edge. For some objects there is evidence for emission-line variability induced by rotation. Our variability study supports an inclination that is close to edge-on for the brown dwarf LS-RCrA 1. The fact that all targets in our sample show variations in accretion and/or outflow indicators suggests that studies of young brown dwarf properties should be based either on large samples or on time series. As an example, we demonstrate that the large scatter in the recently found accretion rate versus mass relationship can be explained primarily by variability. The observed profile variations imply asymmetric accretion flows in brown dwarfs, which, in turn, is evidence for magnetic funneling by large-scale fields. We show that accreting substellar objects may harbor magnetic fields with approximately kilogauss strength.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1056-1069
Number of pages14
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume638
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2006

Keywords

  • accretion, accretion disks
  • line : formation
  • line : profiles
  • stars : formation
  • stars : low-mass
  • brown dwarfs
  • stars : winds, outflows
  • T-TAURI STARS
  • LOW-MASS STARS
  • HAMILTON ECHELLE SPECTRA
  • MAIN-SEQUENCE STARS
  • H-ALPHA EMISSION
  • I DARK CLOUD
  • MAGNETOSPHERIC ACCRETION
  • HYDRAE ASSOCIATION
  • DISK ACCRETION
  • FORMING REGION

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