A Wide Planetary-mass Companion to a Young Low-mass Brown Dwarf in Ophiuchus

Fontanive, Clémence; Allers, Katelyn N.; Pantoja, Blake; Biller, Beth; Dubber, Sophie; Zhang, Zhoujian; Dupuy, Trent; Liu, Michael C.; Albert, Loïc (2020). A Wide Planetary-mass Companion to a Young Low-mass Brown Dwarf in Ophiuchus. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 905(2), L14. Institute of Physics Publishing IOP 10.3847/2041-8213/abcaf8

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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 (1farcs46). 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 multiband 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.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute
10 Strategic Research Centers > Center for Space and Habitability (CSH)
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > NCCR PlanetS

UniBE Contributor:

Fontanive, Clémence


500 Science
500 Science > 520 Astronomy
500 Science > 530 Physics




Institute of Physics Publishing IOP




Danielle Zemp

Date Deposited:

06 Apr 2021 11:26

Last Modified:

06 Apr 2021 11:26

Publisher DOI:






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