The Gemini NICI Planet-Finding Campaign: Discovery of a Close Substellar Companion to a Young Solar Analog


Beth A. Biller, Michael C. Liu, Zahed Wahhaj, Eric L. Nielsen, Laird M. Close, Trent Dupuy, Thomas L. Hayward, Mark Chun, Christ Ftaclas, Fraser Clarke, Jared Males, I. Neill Reid, Evgenya L. Shkolnik, Andrew Skemer, Matthias Tecza, Niranjan Thatte, Markus Hartung, Silvia Alencar, Pawel Artymowicz, Alan Boss, Adam Burrows, Elisabete de Gouveia Dal Pino, Jane Gregorio-Hetem, Shigeru Ida, Marc J. Kuchner, Douglas Lin, Douglas Toomey


Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii Steward Observatory, University of Arizona Gemini Observatory, Souther Operations Center Department of Astronomy, University of Oxford Space Telescope Science Institute Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution of Washington Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, University of Toronto at Scarborough, Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, Universidade de Sao Paulo, Departamento de Astronomia, Tokyo Institute of Technology, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, UC Santa Cruz, Mauna Kea Infrared


We report the discovery of a tight substellar companion detected with high contrast adaptive optics imaging as part of the Gemini NICI Planet-Finding Campaign. The companion was detected at a projected separation of 0.360$\pm$0.003’’. Second-epoch observations a year later demonstrate that the companion is not a background star and that it shows significant orbital motion. The near-IR colors of the companion indicate a spectral type of M7$\pm$2 and thus this object will be a new benchmark companion for studies of ultracool, low-gravity photospheres. At the young age of the system, we estimate a mass of 36$\pm$6 \Mjup\ based on evolutionary models.

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