Identification and characterization of low mass stars and brown dwarfs using virtual observatory tools

  1. Miriam Aberasturi Vega
Supervised by:
  1. Enrique Solano Márquez Director
  2. Eduardo Martín Guerrero de Escalante Director

Defence university: Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Year of defence: 2015

  1. Elisa de Castro Rubio Chair
  2. David Montes Gutiérrez Secretary
  3. Bruno Merín Martín Committee member
  4. Nicolas Cedric Lodieu Committee member
  5. Benjamín Montesinos Comino Committee member

Type: Thesis


Two thirds of the stars in our galactic neighborhood (d < 10 pc) are M-dwarfs which also constitute the most common stellar objects in the Milky Way. This property, combined with their small stellar masses and radii, increases the likelihood of detecting terrestrial planets through radial velocity and transit techniques, making them very adequate targets for the exoplanet hunting projects. Nevertheless, M dwarfs have associated different observational difficulties. They are cool objects whose emission radiation peaks at infrared wavelengths and, thus, with a low surface brightness in the optical range. Also, the photometric variability as well as the significant chromospheric activity hinder the radial velocity and transit determinations. It is necessary, therefore, to carry out a detailed characterization of M-dwarfs before building a shortlist with the best possible candidates for exoplanet searches. Brown dwarfs (BDs) are self-gravitating objects that do not get enough mass to maintain a sufficiently high temperature in their core for stable hydrogen fusion. They represent the link between low-mass stars and giant planets. Due to their low temperatures, BDs emit significant flux at mid-infrared wavelength which makes this range very adequate to look for this type of objects. The Virtual Observatory (VO) is an international initiative designed to help the astronomical community in the exploitation of the multi-wavelength information that resides in data archives. In the last years the Spanish Virtual Observatory is conducting a number of projects focused on the study of substellar objects taking advantage of Virtual Observatory tools for an easy data access and analysis of large area surveys. This is the framework where this thesis has been carried out. This dissertation addresses three problems in the framework of low-mass stars and brown dwarfs, namely, the search for brown dwarf candidates crossmatching catalogues (Chapter 4), the search for nearby bright M dwarfs and the subsequent spectroscopic characterization (Chapter 5), and a study of binarity in mid to late-T brown dwarfs (Chapter 6); the first two topics use Virtual Observatory tools...