Astronomers have taken the first confirmed direct image of a brown dwarf orbiting a star in the Hyades Cluster

Astronomers have taken the first confirmed direct image of a brown dwarf orbiting a star in the Hyades cluster

Four direct images of the brown dwarf HIP 21152 B were taken using the Subaru Telescope and the Keck Observatory. The host star is hidden in the images (as noted by the yellow star icons) and its companion brown dwarf is circled. Image credit: M. Kuzuhara et al./WM Keck Observatory/Subaru Telescope

A team of astronomers using two of the Maunakea Observatories in Hawaii – the W.M. Keck Observatory and the Subaru Telescope – has imaged a brown dwarf orbiting HIP 21152, a young, sun-like star in the Hyades Cluster.

Located 150 light-years away, the Hyades is the closest star cluster to Earth in the constellation Taurus. Its V-shaped pattern can be seen with the naked eye. Because this group of young stars was born around the same time, the Hyades Cluster has caught the attention of astronomers as an important research target for studying the evolution of stars and planets.

The newly found brown dwarf in this cluster, called HIP 21152 B, is the first confirmed quasi-stellar companion of a Hyades main sequence star discovered via direct imaging. Its mass is comparable to a giant planet – between 22-36 Jupiter masses.

“This result could provide an important clue for understanding the atmospheres of giant planets and brown dwarfs based on how and when they exhibit atmospheric properties similar to those of the HR 8799 and HIP 21152 B system planets,” said Masayuki Kozuhara. Project assistant professor in the Center for Astrobiology and lead author of the study. “HIP 21152 B is expected to play an important role as a benchmark for future advances in astronomy and planetary sciences.”

The study, which is led by the Center for Astrobiology of the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), is published in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Brown dwarfs have masses that lie between a planet and a star. They are more massive than planets, but not as massive as stars. These substellar objects are useful for studying the evolution and atmosphere of supergiants planets Because Jupiter planets Light brown dwarfs are expected to have similar properties.

Brown dwarfs drift by themselves in space or in orbit around the stars. While thousands of brown dwarfs have been found since the first discovery in 1995, companion-type brown dwarfs are rare, with only a few duplicating per 100 stars. For this reason, astronomers have tried to create an effective way to find a mate brown dwarfs.

The team inferred the mass of HIP 21152 B by calculating its orbit using a total of four direct images taken using the Subaru Telescope’s System of Extreme Adaptive Optics (SCExAO) and Coronagraphic High Angular Scectrograph (CHARIS), as well as the adaptive optics of the Keck Observatory coupled to its infrared camera. proximal second generation (NIRC2).

The researchers also obtained spectra of the brown dwarf that show that HIP 21152 B’s atmosphere is transitioning between a “Type L” to a “Type T” brown dwarf, which means it’s getting colder by about 1200-1300 K.

Interestingly, the brown dwarf has a spectrum similar to the famous HR 8799, the first exoplanet system to be photographed using the two Maunakea observatories – the Keck Observatory and the Gemini Observatory.

more information:
Masayuki Kuzuhara et al., Direct imaging and dynamical mass detection of a substellar companion orbiting the accelerating sun-like star Hades with SCExAO/CHARIS*, Astrophysical Journal Letters (2022). DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/ac772f

Introduction of
W.M. Keck Observatory

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