WISE Brown Dwarf Binaries: The Discovery of a T5+T5 and a T8.5+T9 System

August 2011 • 2011AJ....142...57G

Authors • Gelino, Christopher R. • Kirkpatrick, J. Davy • Cushing, Michael C. • Eisenhardt, Peter R. • Griffith, Roger L. • Mainzer, Amanda K. • Marsh, Kenneth A. • Skrutskie, Michael F. • Wright, Edward L.

Abstract • The multiplicity properties of brown dwarfs are critical empirical constraints for formation theories, while multiples themselves provide unique opportunities to test evolutionary and atmospheric models and examine empirical trends. Studies using high-resolution imaging cannot only uncover faint companions, but they can also be used to determine dynamical masses through long-term monitoring of binary systems. We have begun a search for the coolest brown dwarfs using preliminary processing of data from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer and have confirmed many of the candidates as late-type T dwarfs. In order to search for companions to these objects, we are conducting observations using the Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics system on Keck II. Here we present the first results of that search, including a T5 binary with nearly equal mass components and a faint companion to a T8.5 dwarf with an estimated spectral type of T9.

Some of the data presented herein were obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation.


IPAC Authors

Chris Gelino

Associate Scientist


Davy Kirkpatrick

Senior Scientist