Discovery of a brown dwarf very close to the sun: A methane-rich brown dwarf companion to the low-mass star SCR 1845-6357

B. A. Biller, M. Kasper, L. M. Close, W. Brandner, S. Kellner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

73 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present VLT/NACO SDI images of the very nearby star SCR 1845-6357 (hereafter SCR 1845). SCR 1845 is a recently discovered M8.5 star just 3.85 pc from the Sun. Using the capabilities of the unique SDI device, we discovered a substellar companion to SCR 1845 at a separation of 4.5 AU (1.″170 ± 0.″003 on the sky) and fainter by 3.57 ± 0.057 mag in the 1.575 μm SDI filter. This substellar companion has an H magnitude of 13.16-0.26+0.31, (absolute H magnitude of 15.30 -0.26+0.31), making it likely the brightest mid-T dwarf known. The Simultaneous Differential Imager (SDI) consists of three narrowband filters placed around the 1.6 μm methane absorption feature characteristic of T dwarfs (Teff < 1200 K). The flux of the substellar companion drops by a factor of 2.7 ± 0.1 between the SDI F1 (1.575 μm) and F3 (1.625 μm) filters, consistent with strong methane absorption in a substellar companion. We estimate a spectral type of T5.5 μ1 for the companion based on the strength of this methane break. The chances that this object is a background T dwarf are vanishingly small - and there is no isolated background T dwarf in this part of the sky, according to 2MASS. Thus, it is a bound companion, hereafter SCR 1845B. For an age range of 100 Myr to 10 Gyr and spectral type range of T4.5-T6.5, we find a mass range of (9-65)MJup for SCR 1845B from the Baraffe et al. "COND" models. SCR 1845AB is the 24th-closest stellar system to the Sun (at 3.85 pc); the only brown dwarf system closer to the Sun is the binary brown dwarf ε Indi Ba-Bb (at 3.626 pc). In addition, this is the first T dwarf companion discovered around a low-mass star.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L141-L144
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume641
Issue number2 II
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 20 2006

Keywords

  • Binaries: close
  • Instrumentation: adaptive optics
  • Stars: imaging
  • Stars: low-mass, brown dwarfs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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