CFBDS J111807-064016: A new L/T transition brown dwarf in a binary system

Reylé, C., Delorme, P., Artigau, É., Delfosse, X., Albert, L., Forveille, T., Rajpurohit, A. S., Allard, F., Homeier, D. & Robin, A. C., 2013, ArXiv e-prints, p. 103.01 [ADS]

Stellar-substellar binary systems are quite rare, and provide interesting benchmarks. They constrain the complex physics of substellar atmospheres, because several physical parameters of the substellar secondary can be fixed from the much better characterized main sequence primary. We report the discovery of CFBDS J111807-064016, a T2 brown dwarf companion to 2MASS J111806.99-064007.8, a low-mass M4.5-M5 star. The brown-dwarf was identified from the Canada France Brown Dwarf Survey. At a distance of 50-120 pc, the 7.7 arcsec angular separation corresponds to projected separations of 390-900 AU. The primary displays no Halpha emission, placing a lower limit on the age of the system of about 6 Gyr. The kinematics is also consistent with membership in the old thin disc. We obtained near-infrared spectra, which together with recent atmosphere models allow us determine the effective temperature and gravity of both components. From these parameters and the age constraint, evolutionary models estimate masses of 0.10 to 0.15 Msol for the M dwarf, and 0.06 to 0.07 Msol for the T dwarf. This system is a particularly valuable benchmark because the brown dwarf is an early T: the cloud-clearing that occurs at the L/T transition is very sensitive to gravity, metallicity, and detailed dust properties, and produces a large scatter in the colours. This T2 dwarf, with its metallicity measured from the primary and its mass and gravity much better constrained than those of younger early-Ts, will anchor our understanding of the colours of L/T transition brown dwarfs. It is also one of the most massive T dwarfs, just below the hydrogen-burning limit, and all this makes it a prime probe a brown dwarf atmosphere and evolution models.