Characterization of M, L, and T dwarfs in the sloan digital sky survey

Suzanne L. Hawley, Kevin R. Covey, Gillian R. Knapp, David A. Golmowski, Xiaohui Fan, Scott F. Anderson, James E. Gunn, Hugh C. Harris, Zeljko Ivezić, Gary M. Long, Robert H. Lupton, Peregrine M. McGehee, Vijay Narayanan, Eric Peng, David Schlegel, Donald P. Schneider, Emily Y. Spahn, Michael A. Strauss, Paula Szkody, Zlatan TsvetanovLucianne M. Walkowicz, J. Brinkmann, Michael Harvanek, Gregory S. Hennessy, S. J. Kleinman, Jurek Krzesinski, Dan Long, Eric H. Neilsen, Peter R. Newman, Atsuko Nitta, Stephanie A. Snedden, Donald G. York

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

341 Scopus citations


An extensive sample of M, L, and T dwarfs identified in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) has been compiled. The sample of 718 dwarfs includes 677 new objects (629 M dwarfs and 48 L dwarfs), together with 41 that have been previously published. All new objects and some of the previously published ones have new optical spectra obtained either with the SDSS spectrographs or with the Apache Point Observatory 3.5 m ARC telescope. Spectral types and SDSS colors are available for all objects; approximately 35% also have near-infrared magnitudes measured by 2MASS (Two Micron All Sky Survey) or on the Mauna Kea system. We use this sample to characterize the color-spectral type and color-color relations of late-type dwarfs in the SDSS filters and to derive spectroscopic and photometric parallax relations for use in future studies of the luminosity and mass functions based on SDSS data. We find that the i*-z* and i*-J colors provide good spectral type and absolute magnitude (Mi*) estimates for M and L dwarfs. Our distance estimates for the current sample indicate that SDSS is finding early M dwarfs out to ∼1.5 kpc, L dwarfs to ∼100 pc, and T dwarfs to ∼20 pc. The T dwarf photometric data show large scatter and are therefore less reliable for spectral type and distance estimation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3409-3427
Number of pages19
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number6 1758
StatePublished - Jun 2002


  • Stars: late-type
  • Stars: low-mass, brown dwarfs
  • Surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterization of M, L, and T dwarfs in the sloan digital sky survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this