Spitzer Follow-up of Extremely Cold Brown Dwarfs Discovered by the Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 Citizen Science Project

August 2020 • 2020ApJ...899..123M

Authors • Meisner, Aaron M. • Faherty, Jacqueline K. • Kirkpatrick, J. Davy • Schneider, Adam C. • Caselden, Dan • Gagné, Jonathan • Kuchner, Marc J. • Burgasser, Adam J. • Casewell, Sarah L. • Debes, John H. • Artigau, Étienne • Bardalez Gagliuffi, Daniella C. • Logsdon, Sarah E. • Kiman, Rocio • Allers, Katelyn • Hsu, Chih-chun • Wisniewski, John P. • Allen, Michaela B. • Beaulieu, Paul • Colin, Guillaume • Durantini Luca, Hugo A. • Goodman, Sam • Gramaize, Léopold • Hamlet, Leslie K. • Hinckley, Ken • Kiwy, Frank • Martin, David W. • Pendrill, William • Rothermich, Austin • Sainio, Arttu • Schümann, Jörg • Andersen, Nikolaj Stevnbak • Tanner, Christopher • Thakur, Vinod • Thévenot, Melina • Walla, Jim • Wędracki, Zbigniew • Aganze, Christian • Gerasimov, Roman • Theissen, Christopher • Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 Collaboration

Abstract • We present Spitzer follow-up imaging of 95 candidate extremely cold brown dwarfs discovered by the Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 citizen science project, which uses visually perceived motion in multiepoch Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) images to identify previously unrecognized substellar neighbors to the Sun. We measure Spitzer [3.6]-[4.5] color to phototype our brown dwarf candidates, with an emphasis on pinpointing the coldest and closest Y dwarfs within our sample. The combination of WISE and Spitzer astrometry provides quantitative confirmation of the transverse motion of 75 of our discoveries. Nine of our motion-confirmed objects have best-fit linear motions larger than 1″ yr-1; our fastest-moving discovery is WISEA J155349.96+693355.2 (μ ≈ 2"15 yr-1), a possible T-type subdwarf. We also report a newly discovered wide-separation (∼400 au) T8 comoving companion to the white dwarf LSPM J0055+5948 (the fourth such system to be found), plus a candidate late T companion to the white dwarf LSR J0002+6357 at 5'5 projected separation (∼8700 au if associated). Among our motion-confirmed targets, five have Spitzer colors most consistent with spectral type Y. Four of these five have exceptionally red Spitzer colors suggesting types of Y1 or later, adding considerably to the small sample of known objects in this especially valuable low-temperature regime. Our Y dwarf candidates begin bridging the gap between the bulk of the Y dwarf population and the coldest known brown dwarf.


IPAC Authors


Davy Kirkpatrick

Senior Scientist