An improved red spectrum of the methane or T dwarf SDSS 1624+0029: The role of the alkali metals

James Liebert, I. Neill Reid, Adam Burrows, Adam J. Burgasser, J. Davy Kirkpatrick, John E. Gizis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


A Keck II low-resolution spectrum shortward of 1 μm is presented for SDSS 1624+0029, the first field methane or T dwarf discovered in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Significant flux is detected down to the spectrum's short-wavelength limit of 6200 Å. The spectrum exhibits a broad absorption feature centered at 7700 Å, which we interpret as the K I λλ7665, 7699 resonance doublet. The observed flux declines shortward of 7000 Å, most likely owing to the red wing of the Na I doublet. Both Cs I doublet lines are detected more strongly than in an earlier red spectrum. Neither Li I absorption nor Hα emission are detected. An exploratory model fit to the spectrum suggests that the shape of the red spectrum can be primarily accounted for by the broad wings of the K I and Na I doublets. This behavior is consistent with the argument proffered by Burrows, Marley, & Sharp that strong alkali absorption is principally responsible for depressing T dwarf spectra shortward of 1 μm. In particular, there seems no compelling reason at this time to introduce dust or an additional opacity source in the atmosphere of the Sloan object. The width of the K I and strengths of the Cs I lines also indicate that the Sloan object is warmer than Gl 229B.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L155-L158
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 PART 2
StatePublished - Apr 20 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Stars: atmospheres
  • Stars: low-mass, brown dwarfs


Dive into the research topics of 'An improved red spectrum of the methane or T dwarf SDSS 1624+0029: The role of the alkali metals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this