Seminar Series

Dark & Stormy: New Insights into Brown Dwarf Weather and Implications for Exoplanet Atmospheres

Adam Burgasser, University of California San Diego

07 Sep 2016 - 15:30

The photospheric temperatures and pressures of the lowest-mass stars and brown dwarfs allow for the formation of liquid and solid condensate species, making possible cloud-formation and weather. These phenomena can be probed through time-resolved studies, caused by the rotational modulation of cloud features and weather-induced variability. In addition, cloud evolution has been implicated as a dominant factor in the transition between the L dwarf and T dwarf spectral classes. In this talk, I summarize insights gained from over a decade of weather-related investigations, including the role of clouds in brown dwarf thermal evolution, the incidence and patterns of weather-induced variability, evidence of water clouds in Y dwarfs, and what these observations tell us about the rotation and atmospheric dynamics of low-temperature dwarfs. I also examine alternative interpretations of these observations, including magnetic activity, gravity waves and fingering instabilities. I conclude by describing how synoptic investigations with ground-based facilities, including the LCOGT network, could address persistent questions about brown dwarf weather.

LCO Seminar Series,
6740 Cortona Dr, Suite 102,
Goleta, CA 93117