A Caltech Library Service

Discovery of Three Distant, Cold Brown Dwarfs in the WFC3 Infrared Spectroscopic Parallels Survey

Masters, D. and McCarthy, P. and Burgasser, A. J. and Hathi, N. P. and Malkan, M. and Ross, N. R. and Siana, B. and Scarlata, C. and Henry, A. L. and Colbert, J. and Atek, H. and Rafelski, M. and Teplitz, H. and Bunker, A. and Dressler, A. (2012) Discovery of Three Distant, Cold Brown Dwarfs in the WFC3 Infrared Spectroscopic Parallels Survey. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 752 (1). Art. No. L14. ISSN 2041-8205. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/752/1/L14.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.

PDF - Submitted Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


We present the discovery of three late-type (≥T4.5) brown dwarfs, including a probable Y dwarf, in the WFC3 Infrared Spectroscopic Parallels (WISP) survey. We use the G141 grism spectra to determine the spectral types of the dwarfs and derive distance estimates based on a comparison with nearby T dwarfs with known parallaxes. These are the most distant spectroscopically confirmed T/Y dwarfs, with the farthest at an estimated distance of ∼400 pc. We compare the number of cold dwarfs found in the WISP survey with simulations of the brown dwarf mass function. The number found is generally consistent with an initial stellar mass function dN/dM ∝ M^(−α) with α = 0.0–0.5, although the identification of a Y dwarf is somewhat surprising and may be indicative of either a flatter absolute magnitude/spectral-type relation than previously reported or an upturn in the number of very-late-type brown dwarfs in the observed volume.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Masters, D.0000-0001-5382-6138
Burgasser, A. J.0000-0002-6523-9536
Hathi, N. P.0000-0001-6145-5090
Malkan, M.0000-0001-6919-1237
Siana, B.0000-0002-4935-9511
Scarlata, C.0000-0002-9136-8876
Henry, A. L.0000-0002-6586-4446
Atek, H.0000-0002-7570-0824
Rafelski, M.0000-0002-9946-4731
Teplitz, H.0000-0002-7064-5424
Additional Information:© 2012 The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Received 2012 April 10; accepted 2012 April 26; published 2012 May 25. We thank an anonymous referee for helpful comments that improved this Letter. This research has benefitted from the SpeX Prism Spectral Libraries, maintained by Adam Burgasser at We also thank Michael Cushing for providing Y0 spectra from the WISE survey. This work has been supported by the Carnegie Observatories Graduate Research Fellowship.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Carnegie Observatories Graduate Research FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:brown dwarfs;Galaxy: abundances; infrared: stars; stars: luminosity function, mass function
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120626-085631497
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Discovery of Three Distant, Cold Brown Dwarfs in the WFC3 Infrared Spectroscopic Parallels Survey D. Masters et al. 2012 ApJ 752 L14
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:32079
Deposited By: Aucoeur Ngo
Deposited On:26 Jun 2012 19:33
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 20:03

Repository Staff Only: item control page