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CFBDSIR J1458+1013B: A Very Cold (>T10) Brown Dwarf in a Binary System

By Michael C. Liu, Philippe Delorme, Trent J. Dupuy, Brendan P. Bowler, Loic Albert, Etienne Artigau, Celine Reyle, Thierry Forveille and Xavier Delfosse


We have identified CFBDS J1458+10 as a 0.11" (2.6 AU) physical binary using Keck laser guide star adaptive optics imaging and have measured a distance of 23.1+/-2.4 pc to the system based on near-IR parallax data from CFHT. The integrated-light near-IR spectrum indicates a spectral type of T9.5, and model atmospheres suggest a slightly higher temperature and surface gravity than the T10 dwarf UGPS J0722-05. Thus, CFBDS J1458+10AB is the coolest brown dwarf binary found to date. Its secondary component has an absolute H-band magnitude that is 1.9+/-0.3 mag fainter than UGPS J0722-05, giving an inferred spectral type of >T10. The secondary's bolometric luminosity of ~2 x 10^{-7} L_sun makes it the least luminous known brown dwarf by a factor of 4-5. By comparing to evolutionary models and T9-T10 objects, we estimate a temperature of 370+/-40 K and a mass of 6-15 Mjup for CFBDS J1458+10B. At such extremes, atmospheric models predict the onset of novel photospheric processes, namely the appearance of water clouds and the removal of strong alkali lines, but their impact on the emergent spectrum is highly uncertain. Our photometry shows that strong CH4 absorption persists at H-band; the J-K color is bluer than the latest known T dwarfs but not as blue as predicted by current models; and the J-H color delineates a possible inflection in the blueward trend for the latest T dwarfs. Given its low luminosity, atypical colors and cold temperature, CFBDS J1458+10B is a promising candidate for the hypothesized Y spectral class. However, regardless of its ultimate classification, CFBDS J1458+10AB provides a new benchmark for measuring the properties of brown dwarfs and gas-giant planets, testing substellar models, and constraining the low-mass limit for star formation.Comment: Tiny cosmetic changes made to match final published version, including update of Ross 458C values in Table 6 and correction to Figure 7 legen

Topics: Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics, Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1088/0004-637X/740/2/108
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