Radio emission in a nearby, ultra-cool dwarf binary: A multifrequency study

Climent, J. B.; Guirado, J. C.; Zapatero Osorio, M. R.; Zakhozhay, O. V.; Pérez-Torres, M.; Azulay, R.; Gauza, B.; Rebolo, R.; Béjar, V. J. S.; Martín-Pintado, J.; Lefèvre, C.
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Astronomy and Astrophysics

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Context. The substellar triple system VHS J125601.92−125723.9 (hereafter VHS 1256−1257) is composed of an equal-mass M7.5 brown dwarf binary and an L7 low-mass substellar object. In Guirado et al. (2018, A&A, 610, A23) we published the detection of radio emission at 8.4 GHz coming from the central binary and making it an excellent target for further observations.
Aims: We aim to identify the origin of the radio emission occurring in the central binary of VHS 1256−1257 while discussing the expected mechanisms involved in the radio emission of ultra-cool dwarfs.
Methods: We observed this system with the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array, the European very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI) Network, the enhanced Multi-Element Remotely Linked Interferometer Network, the NOrthern Extended Millimeter Array, and the Atacama Large Millimetre Array at frequencies ranging from 5 GHz up to 345 GHz in several epochs during 2017, 2018, and 2019.
Results: We found radio emission at 6 GHz and 33 GHz coincident with the expected position of the central binary of VHS 1256−1257. The Stokes I density fluxes detected were 73 ± 4 μJy and 83 ± 13 μJy, respectively, with no detectable circular polarisation or pulses. No emission is detected at higher frequencies (230 GHz and 345 GHz), nor at 5 GHz with VLBI arrays. The emission appears to be stable over almost three years at 6 GHz. To explain the constraints obtained both from the detections and non-detections, we considered multiple scenarios including thermal and nonthermal emission, and different contributions from each component of the binary.
Conclusions: Our results can be well explained by nonthermal gyrosynchrotron emission originating at radiation belts with a low plasma density (ne = 300−700 cm−3), a moderate magnetic field strength (B ≈ 140 G), and an energy distribution of electrons following a power-law (dN/dE ∝ E−δ) with δ fixed at 1.36. These radiation belts would need to be present in both components and also be viewed equatorially.
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