Cool Star Lab Presents at Cool Stars Conference

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Adam Burgasser and Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi were among hundreds of attendees at the 18th Cambridge Workshop on Cool Stars, Stellar Systems and the Sun, held in Flagstaff, AZ, June 8-13.  This biennial conference highlights the latest research in low-temperature, low-mass stars and brown dwarfs, and this year had its fair share of exciting results in both observation and theory.

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Observations of Luhman 16AB: A Brown Dwarf Binary at 2 pc

Early in March 2013, Kevin Luhman announced his discovery of a pair of brown dwarfs only 2 pc (6 light-years) from the Sun, the 3rd closest system to us after the α/Proxima Centauri system and Barnard’s Star. This remarkable find was buried in survey data going back 35 years, but elucidated with the mid-infrared sensitivity of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and the object’s very high proper motion (2.8 arcseconds/year, or just under 0.1 degrees/century).  Using optical spectroscopy, Luhman found that the brighter of the two components had a late-L spectral type, suggesting that the system might straddle the transition between L dwarf and T dwarf spectral classes.  Knowing home much we like this really cool transition, we jumped into action.

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