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The First Ultra-cool Brown Dwarf Discovered by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer

Mainzer, A. and Cushing, Michael C. and Skrutskie, M. and Gelino, C. R. and Kirkpatrick, J. Davy and Jarrett, T. and Masci, F. and Marley, Mark S. and Saumon, D. and Wright, E. and Beaton, R. and Dietrich, M. and Eisenhardt, P. and Garnavich, P. and Kuhn, O. and Leisawitz, D. and Marsh, K. and McLean, I. and Padgett, D. and Rueff, K. (2011) The First Ultra-cool Brown Dwarf Discovered by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. Astrophysical Journal, 726 (1). Art. No. 30. ISSN 0004-637X.

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We report the discovery of the first new ultra-cool brown dwarf (BDs) found with the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). The object’s preliminary designation is WISEPC J045853.90+643451.9. Follow-up spectroscopy with the LUCIFER instrument on the Large Binocular Telescope indicates that it is a very late-type T dwarf with a spectral type approximately equal to T9. Fits to an IRTF/SpeX 0.8–2.5 μm spectrum to the model atmospheres of Marley and Saumon indicate an effective temperature of approximately 600 K as well as the presence of vertical mixing in its atmosphere. The new BD is easily detected by WISE, with a signal-to-noise ratio of ~36 at 4.6 μm. Current estimates place it at a distance of 6–10 pc. This object represents the first in what will likely be hundreds of nearby BDs found by WISE that will be suitable for follow-up observations, including those with the James Webb Space Telescope. One of the two primary scientific goals of the WISE mission is to find the coolest, closest stars to our Sun; the discovery of this new BD proves that WISE is capable of fulfilling this objective.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Cushing, Michael C.0000-0001-7780-3352
Kirkpatrick, J. Davy0000-0003-4269-260X
Jarrett, T.0000-0002-4939-734X
Masci, F.0000-0002-8532-9395
Marley, Mark S.0000-0002-5251-2943
Wright, E.0000-0001-5058-1593
Beaton, R.0000-0002-1691-8217
Marsh, K.0000-0003-0107-7803
Padgett, D.0000-0001-5334-5107
Additional Information:© 2011 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2010 May 30; accepted 2010 September 30; published 2010 December 13. This publication makes use of data products from the Widefield Infrared Survey Explorer, which is a joint project of the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. We are deeply grateful for the outstanding contributions of all the members of the WISE team. We thank Roger Griffith for assistance with Figure 2 and Beth Fabinsky for assistance with early searches. Support for the modeling work of D.S. was provided by NASA through the Spitzer Science Center. M.C. was supported by an appointment to the NASA Postdoctoral Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, administered by Oak Ridge Associated Universities through a contract with NASA. This publication makes use of data products from the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS). 2MASS is a joint project of the University of Massachusetts and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation. This research has made use of the NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive (IRSA), which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Our research has been benefited from the M, L, and T dwarf compendium housed at whose server was funded by a NASA Small Research Grant, administered by the American Astronomical Society. We are also indebted to the SIMBAD database, operated at CDS, Strasbourg, France. The Digitized Sky Surveys were produced at the Space Telescope Science Institute under U.S. Government grant NAG W-2166. The images of these surveys are based on photographic data obtained using the Oschin Schmidt Telescope on Palomar Mountain and the UK Schmidt Telescope. The Second Palomar Observatory Sky Survey (POSS-II) was made by the California Institute of Technology with funds from the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the Sloan Foundation, the Samuel Oschin Foundation, and the Eastman Kodak Corporation. The Oschin Schmidt Telescope is operated by the California Institute of Technology and Palomar Observatory. We thank Richard Green and the LBT staff for making the LUCIFER observations possible. The LBT is an international collaboration among institutions in the United States, Italy, and Germany. LBT Corporation partners are the University of Arizona on behalf of the Arizona University System; Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Italy; LBT Beteiligungsgesellschaft, Germany, representing the Max-Planck Society, the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam, and Heidelberg University; The Ohio State University, and The Research Corporation, on behalf of The University of Notre Dame, University of Minnesota and University of Virginia. The LUCIFER Project is funded by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF). It is a collaboration of five German institutes: Landessternwarte Heidelberg, Max Planck Institut für Astronomie (Heidelberg), Max Planck Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik (Garching), Fachhochschule für Technik und Gestaltung (Mannheim), and Astronomisches Institut der Universität Bochum.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
National Geographic SocietyUNSPECIFIED
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Samuel Oschin FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Eastman Kodak CorporationUNSPECIFIED
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:brown dwarfs – infrared: stars – solar neighborhood – stars: late-type – stars: low-mass
Issue or Number:1
Classification Code:PACS: 97.20.Vs; 97.20.Jg; 95.85.Hp
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110202-093524773
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:A. Mainzer et al. 2011 ApJ 726 30 doi: 10.1088/0004-637X/726/1/30
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:21963
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:02 Feb 2011 18:06
Last Modified:15 Nov 2019 03:52

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