The Gemini Nici Planet-Finding Campaign: Discovery of a close substellar companion to the young debris disk star PZ TEL

Beth A. Biller, Michael C. Liu, Zahed Wahhaj, Eric L. Nielsen, Laird M. Close, Trent J. Dupuy, Thomas L. Hayward, Adam Burrows, Mark Chun, Christ Ftaclas, Fraser Clarke, Markus Hartung, Jared Males, I. Neill Reid, Evgenya L. Shkolnik, Andrew Skemer, Matthias Tecza, Niranjan Thatte, Silvia H.P. Alencar, Pawel ArtymowiczAlan Boss, Elisabete De Gouveia Dal Pino, Jane Gregorio-Hetem, Shigeru Ida, Marc J. Kuchner, Douglas Lin, Douglas Toomey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Scopus citations

Abstract

We report the discovery of a tight substellar companion to the young solar analog PZ Tel, a member of the β Pic moving group observed with high-contrast adaptive optics imaging as part of the Gemini Near-Infrared Coronagraphic Imager Planet-Finding Campaign. The companion was detected at a projected separation of 16.4 ± 1.0 AU (0. ′33 ± 0. ′01) in 2009 April. Second-epoch observations in 2010 May demonstrate that the companion is physically associated and shows significant orbital motion. Monte Carlo modeling constrains the orbit of PZ Tel B to eccentricities >0.6. The near-IR colors of PZ Tel B indicate a spectral type of M7 ± 2 and thus this object will be a new benchmark companion for studies of ultracool, low-gravity photospheres. Adopting an age of 12+8-4 Myr for the system, we estimate a mass of 36 ± 6 MJup based on the Lyon/DUSTY evolutionary models. PZ Tel B is one of the few young substellar companions directly imaged at orbital separations similar to those of giant planets in our own solar system. Additionally, the primary star PZ Tel A shows a 70 μm emission excess, evidence for a significant quantity of circumstellar dust that has not been disrupted by the orbitalmotion of the companion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L82-L87
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume720
Issue number1 PART 2
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010

Keywords

  • Brown dwarfs
  • Instrumentation: adaptive optics
  • Planetary systems
  • Planets and satellites: detection
  • Stars: pre-main sequence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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    Biller, B. A., Liu, M. C., Wahhaj, Z., Nielsen, E. L., Close, L. M., Dupuy, T. J., Hayward, T. L., Burrows, A., Chun, M., Ftaclas, C., Clarke, F., Hartung, M., Males, J., Reid, I. N., Shkolnik, E. L., Skemer, A., Tecza, M., Thatte, N., Alencar, S. H. P., ... Toomey, D. (2010). The Gemini Nici Planet-Finding Campaign: Discovery of a close substellar companion to the young debris disk star PZ TEL. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 720(1 PART 2), L82-L87. https://doi.org/10.1088/2041-8205/720/1/L82