This graph of data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows that an extraordinarily low-mass brown dwarf, or 'failed star,' called OTS 44, is circled by a disc of planet-building dust.
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Planetary Building Blocks Found in Surprising Place

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 details

ID#:
PIA07337

Date added:
2005-02-08

Target:
OTS 44

Mission:
Spitzer Space Telescope

Spacecraft:
Spitzer Space Telescope

Instruments:
Infrared Array Camera (IRAC)

Size:
2580 x 2010 pixels (width x height)

Rating:



Views:
2,481

Full-Res TIFF:
PIA07337.tif (5.46 MB)

Full-Res JPG:
PIA07337.jpg (0.25 MB)

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