We report the detection of periodic (p = 1.96 hr) bursts of extremely bright, 100% circularly polarized, coherent radio emission from the M9 dwarf TVLM 513-46546. Simultaneous photometric monitoring observations have established this periodicity to be the rotation period of the dwarf. These bursts, which were not present in previous observations of this target, confirm that ultracool dwarfs can generate persistent levels of broadband, coherent radio emission, associated with the presence of kG magnetic fields in a large-scale, stable configuration. Compact sources located at the magnetic polar regions produce highly beamed emission generated by the electron cyclotron maser instability, the same mechanism known to generate planetary coherent radio emission in our solar system. The narrow beams of radiation pass our line of sight as the dwarf rotates, producing the associated periodic bursts. The resulting radio light curves are analogous to the periodic light curves associated with pulsar radio emission highlighting TVLM 513-46546 as the prototype of a new class of transient radio source.
- Pulsars: general
- Radiation mechanisms: nonthermal
- Radio continuum: stars
- Stars: activity
- Stars: low-mass, brown dwarfs
- Stars: magnetic fields