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Identification of a Young Planetary-Mass Brown Dwarf

9 Jul 2015, 23:00 UTC
Identification of a Young Planetary-Mass Brown Dwarf
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Young, planetary-mass brown dwarfs provide a good proxy for the study of gas giant planets around stars because these objects exist in isolation and are not overwhelmed by the glare of a parent star. Brown dwarfs cool as they age. As a result, young brown dwarfs are hotter and more luminous, making them easier to observe. Brown dwarfs are identified by the spectral types - M, L, T and Y, in order of decreasing effective temperature. The spectral type of a brown dwarf changes as it cools. More massive brown dwarfs take longer to cool.Planetary-mass brown dwarfs that are younger than ~120 million years old are expected to be T dwarfs (i.e. T-type spectral class). These objects, if located in the Sun's neighbourhood (i.e. nearer than ~65 light years away) are bright enough to be studied by next generation observatories such as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT). So far, only one isolated planetary-mass T dwarf candidate is known. This object is identified as CFBDSIR J214947.2-040308.9 and it is estimated to have between 4 to 7 times the mass of Jupiter.Gagné et al. (2015) present the discovery of SDSS J111010.01+011613.1 (hereafter SDSS J1110+0116), a ...

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