Polarised radio pulsations from a new T-dwarf binary

H. K. Vedantham*, T. J. Dupuy, E. L. Evans, A. Sanghi, J. R. Callingham, T. W. Shimwell, W. M.J. Best, M. C. Liu, P. Zarka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Brown dwarfs display Jupiter-like auroral phenomena such as magnetospheric Hα emission and coherent radio emission. Coherent radio emission is a probe of magnetospheric acceleration mechanisms and it provides a direct measurement of the magnetic field strength at the emitter's location, both of which are difficult to access by other means. Observations of the coldest brown dwarfs (spectral types T and Y) are particularly interesting as their magnetospheric phenomena may be very similar to those in gas-giant exoplanets. Here we present 144 MHz radio and infrared adaptive optics observations of the brown dwarf WISEP J101905.63+652954.2 made using the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) and Keck telescopes, respectively. The radio data show pulsed, highly circularly polarised emission which yields a rotation rate of 0.32 ± 0.03 h-1. The infrared imaging reveals the source to be a binary with a projected separation of 423.0 ± 1.6 mas between components of spectral type T5.5 ± 0.5 and T7.0 ± 0.5. With a simple 'toy model', we show that the radio emission can, in principle, be powered by the interaction between the two dwarfs with a mass-loss rate of at least 25 times the Jovian value. WISEP J101905.63+652954.2 is interesting because it is the first pulsed methane dwarf detected in a low radio-frequency search. Unlike previous gigahertz-frequency searches that were only sensitive to objects with kiloGauss fields, our low-frequency search is sensitive to surface magnetic fields of ≈50 G and above which might reveal the coldest radio-loud objects down to planetary mass scales.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL6
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Volume675
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Binaries: general
  • Brown dwarfs
  • Stars: magnetic field

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