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Title: CWISE J014611.20–050850.0AB: The Widest Known Brown Dwarf Binary in the Field
Abstract While stars are often found in binary systems, brown dwarf binaries are much rarer. Brown dwarf–brown dwarf pairs are typically difficult to resolve because they often have very small separations. Using brown dwarfs discovered with data from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) via the Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 citizen science project, we inspected other, higher-resolution, sky surveys for overlooked cold companions. During this process, we discovered the brown dwarf binary system CWISE J0146−0508AB, which we find has a very small chance alignment probability based on the similar proper motions of the components of the system. Using follow-up near-infrared spectroscopy with Keck/NIRES, we determined component spectral types of L4 and L8 (blue), making CWISE J0146−0508AB one of only a few benchmark systems with a blue L dwarf. At an estimated distance of ∼40 pc, CWISE J0146−0508AB has a projected separation of ∼129 au, making it the widest-separation brown dwarf pair found to date. We find that such a wide separation for a brown dwarf binary may imply formation in a low-density star-forming region.
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Award ID(s):
2009136 2009177
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal Letters
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Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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