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Late-M Dwarfs

Title: Studying the Physical Diversity of Late-M Dwarfs with Dynamical Masses
Authors: Trent Dupuy, Michael Liu, Brendan Bowler, Michael Cushing, Christiane Helling, Soeren Witte, Peter Hauschildt

We present a systematic study of the physical properties of late-M dwarfs based on high-quality dynamical mass measurements and near-infrared (NIR) spectra. We use astrometry from Keck NGS and LGS AO imaging to determine orbits for late-M binaries. We find that LP 349-25 (M7.5+M8) is a pair of young brown dwarfs (Mtot = 0.120 Msun) for which Lyon and Tucson evolutionary models jointly predict an age of 14030 Myr. This is consistent with the age of the Pleiades, but at least LP 349-25A defies the empirical Pleiades lithium depletion boundary, implying that the system is in fact older and that evolutionary models underpredict the component luminosities. We find that LHS 1901AB (M6.5+M6.5) is a pair of very low-mass stars (Mtot = 0.194 Msun) with model-derived ages consistent with limits from its lack of activity (> 6 Gyr). Our improved orbit for Gl 569Bab (M8.5+M9) results in a higher mass for this binary (Mtot = 0.140 Msun) compared to previous work (0.125 Msun). We use these masses along with our published results for 2MASS J2206-2047AB (M8+M8) to test four sets of ultracool model atmospheres currently in use. Fitting these models to our NIR integrated-light spectra provides temperature estimates warmer by ~250 K than those derived independently from Dusty evolutionary models given the measured masses and luminosities. We propose that model atmospheres are more likely to be the source of this discrepancy, as it would be difficult to explain a uniform temperature offset over such a wide range of masses, ages, and activity levels in the context of evolutionary models. Our results contrast those of Konopacky et al. as we find an opposite and smaller mass discrepancy from what they report when we adopt their model-testing approach since our Teff estimates from fitting spectra are ~650 K higher than from their fitting of broadband photometry alone.

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