Rotational Modulation of M/L Dwarfs due to Magnetic Spots
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C. Lane, G. Hallinan, R. T. Zavala, R. F. Butler, R. P. Boyle, S. Bourke, A. A...(2007)Rotational Modulation of M/L Dwarfs due to Magnetic Spots,
We find periodic I-band variability in two ultracool dwarfs, TVLM 513-46546 and 2MASS J00361617+1821104, on either side of the M/L dwarf boundary. Both of these targets are short-period radio transients, with the detected I-band periods matching those found at radio wavelengths (P=1.96 hr for TVLM 513-46546, and P=3 hr for 2MASS J00361617+1821104). We attribute the detected I-band periodicities to the periods of rotation of the dwarfs, supported by radius estimates and measured $v$ sin $i$ values for the objects. Based on the detected period of rotation of TVLM 513-46546 (M9) in the I-band, along with confirmation of strong magnetic fields from recent radio observations, we argue for magnetically induced spots as the cause of this periodic variability. The I-band rotational modulation of L3.5 dwarf 2MASS J00361617+1821104 appeared to vary in amplitude with time. We conclude that the most likely cause of the I-band variability for this object is magnetic spots, possibly coupled with time-evolving features such as dust clouds.