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Boyle, Richard P.; Harding, L. K.; Hallinan, G.; Butler, R. F.; Golden, A.
American Astronomical Society, AAS Meeting #218, #326.12; Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society
An Investigation into the Periodic Optical Variability of Radio Detected Ultracool Dwarfs using the GUFI Photometer
2011
May
Published
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In the past ten years or so, radio observations of ultracool dwarfs have yielded the detection of both quiescent and time-variable radio emission in the late-M and L dwarf regime. Four of these dwarfs have been found to produce periodic pulses, determined to be associated with the dwarf's rotation. More recently, two of these radio pulsing dwarfs have been shown to be periodically variable in broadband optical photometry, where the detected periods match the periods of the radio pulses. For one of these dwarfs in particular, it has been established that the mechanism which is driving the optical and radio periodic variability are possibly linked, being a consequence of a magnetically-driven auroral process. We therefore undertook a campaign to investigate the ubiquity of optical periodicity for known radio detected ultracool dwarfs, via multi-color photometric monitoring. To facilitate this research, the GUFI instrument (Galway Ultra Fast Imager) was commissioned on the 1.8m VATT observatory, on Mt. Graham, Arizona. We present the recently published results from this observation campaign, where we have confirmed periodic variability for five of these dwarfs, three of which have been detected for the first time by GUFI. These data provide an insight into the cause of this optical emission, its connection to the radio processes, and most importantly determine whether optical periodic signals are present only in radio pulsing dwarfs.
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