Photometric accretion signatures near the substellar boundary.
McGEHEE P.M., WEST A.A., SMITH J.A., ANDERSON K.S.J. and BRINKMANN J.
Abstract (from CDS):
Multiepoch imaging of the Orion equatorial region by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey has revealed that significant variability in the blue continuum persists into the late-M spectral types, indicating that magnetospheric accretion processes occur below the substellar boundary in the Orion OB1 association. We investigate the strength of the accretion-related continuum veiling by comparing the reddening-invariant colors of the most highly variable stars against those of main-sequence M dwarfs and evolutionary models. A gradual decrease in the g-band veiling is seen for the cooler and less massive members, as expected for a declining accretion rate with decreasing mass. We also see evidence that the temperature of the accretion shock decreases in the very low mass regime, reflecting a reduction in the energy flux carried by the accretion columns. We find that the near-IR excess attributed to circumstellar disk thermal emission drops rapidly for spectral types later than M4. This is likely due to the decrease in color contrast between the disk and the cooler stellar photosphere. Since accretion, which requires a substantial stellar magnetic field and the presence of a circumstellar disk, is inferred for masses down to 0.05 M☉, we surmise that brown dwarfs and low-mass stars share a common mode of formation.