Discovery of two nearby peculiar L dwarfs from the 2MASS proper-motion survey: Young or metal-rich?

Dagny L. Looper, J. Davy Kirkpatrick, Roc M. Cutri, Travis Barman, Adam J. Burgasser, Michael C. Cushing, Thomas Roellig, Mark R. McGovern, Ian S. Mclean, Emily Rice, Brandon J. Swift, Steven D. Schurr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


We present the discovery of two nearby L dwarfs from our 2MASS proper-motion search, which uses multiepoch 2MASS observations covering ∼4700 deg2 of sky. 2MASS J18212815+1414010 and 2MASS J21481628+4003593 were overlooked by earlier surveys due to their faint optical magnitudes and their proximity to the Galactic plane (10° ≤ |b| ≤ 15°). Assuming that both dwarfs are single, we derive spectrophotometric distances of ∼10 pc, thus increasing the number of known L dwarfs within 10 pc to 10. In the near-infrared, 2MASS J21481628+4003593 shows a triangular H-band spectrum, strong CO absorption, and a markedly red J - Ks color (2.38 ± 0.06) for its L6 optical spectral type. 2MASS J18212815+1414010 also shows a triangular H-band spectrum and a slightly red J - Ks color (1.78 ± 0.05) for its L4.5 optical spectral type. Both objects show strong silicate absorption at 9-11 μm. Cumulatively, these features imply an unusually dusty photosphere for both of these objects. We examine several scenarios to explain the underlying cause for their enhanced dust content and find that a metal-rich atmosphere or a low surface gravity are consistent with these results. 2MASS J18212815+1414010 may be young (and therefore have a low surface gravity) based on its low tangential velocity of 10 km s_1. On the other hand, 2MASS J21481628+4003593 has a high tangential velocity of 62 km s_1 and is therefore likely old. Hence, high metallicity and low surface gravity may lead to similar effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)528-541
Number of pages14
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 10 2008


  • Stars: low-mass, brown dwarfs
  • Techniques: spectroscopic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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