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A Search for Companions to Nearby Brown Dwarfs: The Binary DENIS-P J1228.2-1547

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Science  12 Mar 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5408, pp. 1718-1720
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5408.1718

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Abstract

Hubble Space Telescope imaging observations of two nearby brown dwarfs, DENIS-P J1228.2-1547 and Kelu 1, made with the near-infrared camera and multiobject spectrometer (NICMOS), show that the DENIS object is resolved into two components of nearly equal brightness with a projected separation of 0.275 arc second (5 astronomical units for a distance of 18 parsecs). This binary system will be able to provide the first dynamical measurement of the masses of two brown dwarfs in only a few years. Upper limits to the mass of any unseen companion in Kelu 1 yield a planet of 7 Jupiter masses aged 0.5 × 109years, which would have been detected at a separation larger than about 4 astronomical units. This example demonstrates that giant planets could be detected by direct imaging if they exist in Jupiter-like orbits around nearby young brown dwarfs.

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