PIA21077: Brown Dwarf Microlensing Diagram
 Target Name:  OGLE-2015-BLG-1319
 Mission:  Spitzer Space Telescope
 Product Size:  4800 x 2700 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  IPAC-Caltech
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA21077.tif (8.39 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA21077.jpg (652.2 kB)

Click on the image above to download a moderately sized image in JPEG format (possibly reduced in size from original)

Original Caption Released with Image:

For the first time, two space-based telescopes have teamed up with ground-based observatories to observe a microlensing event, a magnification of the light of a distant star due to the gravitational effects of an unseen object in the foreground.

In this case, the cause of the microlensing event was a brown dwarf, dubbed OGLE-2015-BLG-1319, orbiting a star. In terms of mass, brown dwarfs fall somewhere between the size of the largest planets and the smallest stars. Curiously, scientists have found that, for stars roughly the mass of our sun, less than 1 percent have a brown dwarf orbiting within 3 AU (1 AU is the distance between Earth and the sun). This newly discovered brown dwarf may fall in that distance range.

This microlensing event was observed by ground-based telescopes looking for these uncommon events, and subsequently seen by NASA's Spitzer and Swift space telescopes. As the diagram shows, Spitzer and Swift offer additional vantage points for viewing this chance alignment. While Swift orbits close to Earth, and saw (blue diamonds) essentially the same change in light that the ground-based telescopes measured (grey markers), Spitzer's location much farther away from Earth gave it a very different perspective on the event (red circles).

In particular, Spitzer's vantage point resulted in a time lag in the microlensing event it observed, compared to what was seen by Swift and the ground-based telescope. This offset allowed astronomers to determine the distance to OGLE-2015-BLG-1319 as well as its mass: around 30-65 times that of Jupiter.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at Caltech in Pasadena, California. Spacecraft operations are based at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Littleton, Colorado. Data are archived at the Infrared Science Archive housed at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech. NASA's Swift satellite was launched in November 2004 and is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

For more information about the Spitzer mission, visit http://www.nasa.gov/spitzer and http://spitzer.caltech.edu.

Image Credit:

Image Addition Date: