PIA07337: Planetary Building Blocks Found in Surprising Place
 Target Name:  OTS 44
 Mission:  Spitzer Space Telescope
 Instrument:  IRAC
 Product Size:  2580 x 2010 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  California Institute of Technology 
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA07337.tif (5.46 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA07337.jpg (248.6 kB)

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Original Caption Released with Image:

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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