A wide planetary-mass companion to a young low-mass brown dwarf in Ophiuchus

Clemence Fontanive, Katelyn N. Allers, Blake Pantoja, Beth Biller, Sophie Dubber, Zhoujian Zhang, Trent Dupuy, Michael C. Liu, Loic Albert

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We present the discovery of a planetary-mass companion to CFHTWIR-Oph 98, a low-mass brown dwarf member of the young Ophiuchus star-forming region, with a wide 200-au separation (1:0046). The companion was identified using Hubble Space Telescope images, and confirmed to share common proper motion with the primary using archival and new ground-based observations. Based on the very low probability of the components being unrelated Ophiuchus members, we conclude that Oph 98 AB forms a binary system. From our multi-band photometry, we constrain the primary to be an M9–L1 dwarf, and the faint companion to have an L2–L6 spectral type. For a median age of 3 Myr for
Ophiuchus, fits of evolutionary models to measured luminosities yield masses of 15:4 ± 0:8 MJup for Oph 98 A and 7:8 ± 0:8 MJup for Oph 98 B, with respective effective temperatures of 2320 ± 40 K and 1800 ± 40 K. For possible system ages of 1–7 Myr, masses could range from 9.6–18.4 MJup for the primary, and from 4.1–11.6 MJup for the secondary. The low component masses and very large separation make this binary the lowest binding energy system imaged to date, indicating that the outcome of low-mass star formation can result in such extreme, weakly-bound systems. With such a young age, Oph 98 AB extends the growing population of young free-floating planetary-mass objects,
offering a new benchmark to refine formation theories at the lowest masses.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberL14
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2020


  • astro-ph.SR
  • astro-ph.EP


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