Simultaneous multiwavelength observations of magnetic activity in ultracool dwarfs. I. The complex behavior of the M8.5 dwarf TVLM 513-46546



E. Berger; J. E. Gizis; M. S. Giampapa; R. E. Rutledge; J. Liebert; E. Martin; G. Basri; T. A. Fleming; C. M. Johns-Krull; N. Phan-Bao;W. H. Sherry


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Astrophys. J.


radio continuum : stars; stars : activity; stars : low-mass; brown; dwarfs; stars : magnetic fields; X-RAY-EMISSION; H-ALPHA EMISSION; LOW-MASS STARS; RADIO-EMISSION; MAIN-SEQUENCE; BROWN DWARF; AD LEONIS; ROTATIONAL MODULATION; STELLAR; CORONAE; COOL STARS; Astronomy & Astrophysics


We present the first simultaneous radio, X-ray, ultraviolet, and optical spectroscopic observations of the M8.5 dwarf TVLM 513 - 46546, with a duration of 9 hr. These observations are part of a program to study the origin of magnetic activity in ultracool dwarfs, and its impact on chromospheric and coronal emission. Here we detect steady quiescent radio emission superposed with multiple short-duration, highly polarized flares; there is no evidence for periodic bursts previously reported for this object, indicating their transient nature. We also detect soft X-ray emission, with L-X/L-bol approximate to 10(-5.1), the faintest to date for any object later than M5, and a possible X-ray flare. TVLM 513 - 46546 continues the trend of severe violation of the radio/X-ray correlation in ultracool dwarfs, by nearly 4 orders of magnitude. From the optical spectroscopy we find that the Balmer line luminosity exceeds the X-ray luminosity by a factor of a few, ruling out chromospheric heating by coronal X-ray emission. More importantly, we detect sinusoidal H alpha and H beta equivalent width light curves with a period of 2 hr, matching the rotation period of TVLM 513 - 46546. This behavior points to a corotating chromospheric hot spot or an extended magnetic structure, with a covering fraction of about 50%. This feature may be transitory based on the apparent decline in light-curve peak during the four observed maxima. From the radio data we infer a large-scale and steady magnetic field of similar to 10(2) G. A large-scale field is also required by the sinusoidal Balmer line emission. The radio flares, on the other hand, are produced in a component of the field with a strength of similar to 3 kG and a likely multipolar configuration. The overall lack of correlation between the various activity indicators suggests that the short-duration radio flares do not have a strong influence on the chromosphere and corona, and that the chromospheric emission is not the result of coronal heating.

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Astrophysical Journal





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