THE FIRST SPECTRUM of the COLDEST BROWN DWARF

Andrew J. Skemer, Caroline V. Morley, Katelyn N. Allers, Thomas R. Geballe, Mark S. Marley, Jonathan J. Fortney, Jacqueline K. Faherty, Gordon L. Bjoraker, Roxana Lupu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

The recently discovered brown dwarf WISE 0855 presents the first opportunity to directly study an object outside the solar system that is nearly as cold as our own gas giant planets. However, the traditional methodology for characterizing brown dwarfs - near-infrared spectroscopy - is not currently feasible, as WISE 0855 is too cold and faint. To characterize this frozen extrasolar world we obtained a 4.5-5.2 μm spectrum, the same bandpass long used to study Jupiter's deep thermal emission. Our spectrum reveals the presence of atmospheric water vapor and clouds, with an absorption profile that is strikingly similar to Jupiter's. The spectrum quality is high enough to allow for the investigation of dynamical and chemical processes that have long been studied in Jupiter's atmosphere, but now on an extrasolar world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL17
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume826
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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