Friday, October 24, 2014

Zeta Deplhini A has a Wide Orbit, 50 Jupiter Mass Brown Dwarf: ζ Del B

The VAST Survey - IV. A wide brown dwarf companion to the A3V star ζ Delphini


De Rosa et al


We report the discovery of a wide co-moving substellar companion to the nearby (D=67.5±1.1 pc) A3V star ζ Delphini based on imaging and follow-up spectroscopic observations obtained during the course of our Volume-limited A-Star (VAST) multiplicity survey. ζ Del was observed over a five-year baseline with adaptive optics, revealing the presence of a previously-unresolved companion with a proper motion consistent with that of the A-type primary. The age of the ζ Del system was estimated as 525±125 Myr based on the position of the primary on the colour-magnitude and temperature-luminosity diagrams. Using intermediate-resolution near-infrared spectroscopy, the spectrum of ζ Del B is shown to be consistent with a mid-L dwarf (L5±2), at a temperature of 1650±200 K. Combining the measured near-infrared magnitude of ζ Del B with the estimated temperature leads to a model-dependent mass estimate of 50±15 MJup, corresponding to a mass ratio of q=0.019±0.006. At a projected separation of 910±14 au, ζ Del B is among the most widely-separated and extreme-mass ratio substellar companions to a main-sequence star resolved to-date, providing a rare empirical constraint of the formation of low-mass ratio companions at extremely wide separations.

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