The discovery of a very cool binary system

B. Burningham, S.K. Leggett, P.W. Lucas, D.J. Pinfield, R.L. Smart, A.C. Day-Jones, H.R.A. Jones, D.N. Murray, E. Nickson, M. Tamura, Z. Zhang, N. Lodieu, C.G. Tinney, M.R. Zapatero Osorio

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We report the discovery of a very cool d/sdL7+T7.5p common proper motion binary system, SDSS J1416+13AB, found by cross-matching the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) Infrared Deep Sky Survey (UKIDSS) Large Area Survey Data Release 5 (UKIDSS LAS DR4) against the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 7. The d/sdL7 is blue in J−H and H−K and has other features suggestive of low metallicity and/or high gravity. The T7.5p displays spectral peculiarity seen before in earlier type dwarfs discovered in UKIDSS LAS DR4, and referred to as CH4-J-early peculiarity, where the CH4-J index, based on the absorption to the red side of the J-band peak, suggests an earlier spectral type than the H2O-J index, based on the blue side of the J-band peak, by ∼2 subtypes. We suggest that CH4-J-early peculiarity arises from low metallicity and/or high gravity, and speculate as to its use for classifying T dwarfs. UKIDSS and follow-up United Kingdom Infrared Telescope/Wide Field CAMera (UKIRT/WFCAM) photometry shows the T dwarf to have the bluest near-infrared colours yet seen for such an object with H−K=−1.31 ± 0.17 . Warm Spitzer IRAC photometry shows the T dwarf to have extremely red H−[4.5]= 4.86 ± 0.04 , which is the reddest yet seen for a substellar object. The lack of parallax measurement for the pair limits our ability to estimate parameters for the system. However, applying a conservative distance estimate of 5–15 pc suggests a projected separation in range 45–135 au. By comparing H−K:H−[4.5] colours of the T dwarf to spectral models, we estimate that Teff= 500 K and [M/H]∼− 0.30 , with log g∼ 5.0 . This suggests a mass of ∼30 MJupiter for the T dwarf and an age of ∼10 Gyr for the system. The primary would then be a 75 MJupiter object with log g∼ 5.5 and a relatively dust-free Teff∼ 1500 K atmosphere. Given the unusual properties of the system we caution that these estimates are uncertain. We eagerly await parallax measurements and high-resolution imaging which will constrain the parameters further. [Please see original online version for correct notation]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1952-1961
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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