Hypothetical warm planetary surface near a brown dwarf


A possible warm planetary surface lit by an isolated brown dwarf. I am reminded of Megas and Erythro in Asimov’s 1989 story Nemesis.

Following the 4-7 Jupiter mass object CFBDSIR2149 in the AB Doradus moving group, here is another discovery. 2MASS J035523.37+113343.7 is more massive but also young and its kinematics show likely AB Dor membership, with age 50-120 Myr which yields a mass in the range 13-30 Jupiter masses.


Another artists impression (left) shows one of the first cool field brown dwarfs to be found, the T7.5 object Gliese 570 D. The surface temperature is around 800K, and ammonia is seen in the infrared spectrum. The rocky planet is hypothetical. The existence of cloud bands and ‘weather’ in the atmospheres of brown dwarfs is a topic of ongoing research (right).


2MASS J035523.37+113343.7 is the reddest known L dwarf, and this extreme redness is thought to be linked to youth, together with spectoscopic features such as a strongly peaked spectrum near 1.6 microns wavelength, first observed in brown dwarfs in star formation regions. Low surface gravity enhances photospheric dust, shifting radiation further into the infrared and reddening the spectral energy distribution of these young brown dwarfs, compared to cooler, older objects in the field. It is worth noting that even a field object with the same absolute infrared magnitudes would be below the hydrogen-burning limit, at seventy Jupiter masses.

The title of the new paper is Faherty, Jacqueline K., A Young, Dusty, Nearby, Isolated Brown Dwarf Resembling a Giant Exoplanet., 2013AJ. Image: Jon Lomberg


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