Brown Dwarf Microlensing Diagram

Spitzer_sig16-19_500

spitzer_sig16-19 November 10th, 2016

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Y. Shvartzvald (JPL)

For the first time, two space-based telescopes have teamed up with ground-based observatories to observe a microlensing event, a magnification of the light of a distant star due to the gravitational effects of an unseen object in the foreground.

In this case, the cause of the microlensing event was a brown dwarf, dubbed OGLE-2015-BLG-1319, orbiting a star. In terms of mass, brown dwarfs fall somewhere between the size of the largest planets and the smallest stars. Curiously, scientists have found that, for stars roughly the mass of our sun, less than 1 percent have a brown dwarf orbiting within 3 AU (1 AU is the distance between Earth and the sun). This newly discovered brown dwarf may fall in that distance range.

This microlensing event was observed by ground-based telescopes looking for these uncommon events, and subsequently seen by NASAs Spitzer and Swift space telescopes. As the diagram shows, Spitzer and Swift offer additional vantage points for viewing this chance alignment. While Swift orbits close to Earth, and saw (blue diamonds) essentially the same change in light that the ground-based telescopes measured (grey markers), Spitzers location much farther away from Earth gave it a very different perspective on the event (red circles).

In particular, Spitzers vantage point resulted in a time lag in the microlensing event it observed, compared to what was seen by Swift and the ground-based telescope. This offset allowed astronomers to determine the distance to OGLE-2015-BLG-1319 as well as its mass: around 30-65 times that of Jupiter.

Image Source: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/images/6255-sig16-19-Brown-Dwarf-Microlensing-Diagram

Curator: Spitzer Space Telescope, Pasadena, CA, USA

Image Details

Image Type
Collage
Object Name
OGLE-2015-BLG-1319
Subject - Milky Way
Star » Type » Brown Dwarf
Spitzer_sig16-19_1280
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ID
sig16-19
Subject Category
B.3.2.3  
Subject Name
OGLE-2015-BLG-1319
Credits
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Y. Shvartzvald (JPL)
Type
Collage
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
Instrument
Color Assignment
Band
Bandpass
Central Wavelength
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
Equinox
Reference Value
Reference Dimension
Reference Pixel
Scale
Rotation
Coordinate System Projection:
Quality
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
Spitzer Space Telescope
URL
http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
1200 E. California Blvd.
City
Pasadena
State/Province
CA
Postal Code
91125
Country
USA
Rights
Publisher
Spitzer Science Center
Publisher ID
spitzer
Resource ID
sig16-19.tif
Metadata Date
2016-11-10
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

 

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There is no distance meta data in this image.