Maps of evolving cloud structures in luhman 16AB from hst time-resolved spectroscopy

Theodora Karalidi, Dániel Apai, Mark S. Marley, Esther Buenzli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


WISE J104915.57-531906.1 is the nearest brown dwarf binary to our solar system, consisting of two brown dwarfs in the L/T transition: Luhman 16A and B. In this paper, we present the first map of Luhman 16A, and maps of Luhman 16B for two epochs. Our maps were created by applying Aeolus, a Markov-Chain Monte Carlo code that maps the top-of-the-atmosphere (TOA) structure of brown dwarf and other ultracool atmospheres, to light curves of Luhman 16A and B using the Hubble Space Telescope's G141 and G102 grisms. Aeolus retrieved three or four spots in the TOA of Luhman 16A and B, with a surface coverage of 19%-32% (depending on an assumed rotational period of 5 hr or 8 hr) or 21%-38.5% (depending on the observational epoch), respectively. The brightness temperature of the spots of the best-fit models was ∼200 K hotter than the background TOA. We compared our Luhman 16B map with the only previously published map. Interestingly, our map contained a large TOA spot that was cooler (ΔT ∼ 51 K) than the background, which lay at low latitudes, in agreement with the previous Luhman 16B map. Finally, we report the detection of a feature reappearing in Luhman 16B light curves that are separated by tens of hundreds of rotations from each other. We speculate that this feature is related to TOA structures of Luhman 16B.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number90
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 10 2016


  • methods: statistical
  • stars: individual (WISE J104915.57-531906.1)
  • techniques: photometric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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