Friday, January 15, 2016

UScoJ155150.2−213457: A new Free-floating ExoPlanet (Brown Dwarf?) in the Upper Scorpius association

A new free-floating planet in the Upper Scorpius association


Ramírez et al


We report on a deep photometric survey covering an area of 1.17 deg2 in the young Upper Scorpius stellar association using VIMOS Iz and UKIDSS ZJHK data taking several years apart. The search for the least massive population of Upper Scorpius (∼5-10 Myr, 145 pc) is performed on the basis of various optical and infrared color-color and color-magnitude diagrams, including WISE photometry, in the magnitude interval J=14.5-19 mag (completeness), which corresponds to substellar masses from 0.028 through 0.004 M⊙ at the age and distance of Upper Scorpius. We also present the proper motion analysis of the photometric candidates, finding that two objects successfully pass all photometric and astrometric criteria for membership in the young stellar association. One of them, UScoJ155150.2−213457, is a new discovery. We obtained low resolution, near-infrared spectroscopy (R∼450, 0.85--2.35 μm) of this new finding using the FIRE instrument. We confirmed its low-gravity atmosphere expected for an Upper Scorpius member (weak alkaline lines, strong VO absorption, peaked H-band pseudocontinuum). By comparison with spectroscopic standards, we derive a spectral type of L6±1, and estimate a mass of ≈0.008-0.010 M⊙ for UScoJ155150.2−213457. The colors and spectral slope of this object resemble those of other young, cool members of Upper Scorpius and σ Orionis (∼3 Myr) and field, high gravity dwarfs of related classification in contrast with the very red indices of field, low gravity, L-type dwarfs of intermediate age. UScoJ155150.2−213457, which does not show infrared flux excesses up to 4.5 μm, becomes one of the least massive and latest type objects known in the entire Upper Scorpius stellar association.

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