Spectral classification beyond M

S. K. Leggett, F. Allard, A. J. Burgasser, H. R.A. Jones, M. S. Marley, T. Tsuji

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Significant populations of field L and T dwarfs are now known, and we anticipate the discovery of even cooler dwarfs by Spitzer and ground-based infrared surveys. However, as the number of known L and T dwarfs increases so does the range in their observational properties, and difficulties have arisen in interpreting the observations. Although modellers have made significant advances, the complexity of the very low temperature, high pressure, photospheres means that problems remain such as the treatment of grain condensation as well as incomplete and non-equilibrium molecular chemistry. Also, there are several parameters which control the observed spectral energy distribution - effective temperature, grain sedimentation efficiency, metallicity and gravity - and their effects are not well understood. In this paper, based on a splinter session, we discuss classification schemes for L and T dwarfs, their dependency on wavelength, and the effects of the parameters T eff, f sed, [m/H] and log g on optical and infrared spectra. We will also discuss the various hypotheses that have been presented for the transition from the dusty L types to the clear atmosphere T types. We conclude with a brief discussion of the spectral class beyond T. Authors of each Section are identified by their initials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-154
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Space Agency, (Special Publication) ESA SP
Issue number560 I
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes
Event13th Cambridge Workshop on Cool Stars, Stellar Systems and the Sun - Hamburg, Germany
Duration: Jul 5 2004Jul 9 2004


  • Stars: atmospheres
  • Stars: fundamental parameters
  • Stars: late-type
  • Stars: low-mass, brown dwarfs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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