PIA07337: Planetary Building Blocks Found in Surprising Place
Target Name: OTS 44
Mission: Spitzer Space Telescope
Instrument: IRAC
Product Size: 2580 x 2010 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: California Institute of Technology
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figure 1 for PIA07337
Figure 1

This graph of data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows that an extraordinarily low-mass brown dwarf, or "failed star," is circled by a disc of planet-building dust. The brown dwarf, called OTS 44, is only 15 times the mass of Jupiter, making it the smallest known brown dwarf to host a planet-forming disc.

Spitzer was able to see this unusual disc by measuring its infrared brightness. Whereas a brown dwarf without a disc (red dashed line) radiates infrared light at shorter wavelengths, a brown dwarf with a disc (orange line) gives off excess infrared light at longer wavelengths. This surplus light comes from the disc itself and is represented here as a yellow dotted line. Actual data points from observations of OTS 44 are indicated with orange dots. These data were acquired using Spitzer's infrared array camera.

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA

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