Title

A Near-Infrared Spectroscopic Study of Young Field Ultracool Dwarfs

Publication Date

2013

Journal

Astrophysical Journal

Volume

772

Issue

2

First Page

79

Abstract

We present a near-infrared (0.9-2.4 mu m) spectroscopic study of 73 field ultracool dwarfs having spectroscopic and/or kinematic evidence of youth (approximate to 10-300 Myr). Our sample is composed of 48 low-resolution (R approximate to 100) spectra and 41 moderate-resolution spectra (R greater than or similar to 750-2000). First, we establish a method for spectral typing M5-L7 dwarfs at near-IR wavelengths that is independent of gravity. We find that both visual and index-based classification in the near-IR provides consistent spectral types with optical spectral types, though with a small systematic offset in the case of visual classification at J and K band. Second, we examine features in the spectra of similar to 10 Myr ultracool dwarfs to define a set of gravity-sensitive indices based on FeH, VO, Ki, Nai, and H-band continuum shape. We then create an index-based method for classifying the gravities of M6-L5 dwarfs that provides consistent results with gravity classifications from optical spectroscopy. Our index-based classification can distinguish between young and dusty objects. Guided by the resulting classifications, we propose a set of low-gravity spectral standards for the near-IR. Finally, we estimate the ages corresponding to our gravity classifications.

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