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A. Solomon (Bellmore-JFK High School, AMNH), K.L. Cruz (AMNH)
We report the initial results of a study comparing the far-red optical and near-infrared spectra of 53 nearby L dwarfs. Our aim is to characterize the near-infrared discrepancies found among objects of the same optical spectral type and determine their causes. We show near-infrared spectra of L dwarfs with varying strengths of collision-induced H2 absorption (H2 CIA) as evidenced by a `peaky' shape in the H band and redder (J-H) and (J-Ks) colors. H2 CIA is very pressure-sensitive and, as such, is an indicator of gravity and, in turn, age, as recently proposed by Kirkpatrick et al. (2005). Our findings are evidence that gravity is a significant factor in the near-infrared spectral classification of L dwarfs, suggesting a possible new method with which to infer information about a brown dwarf's age and mass.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.