Aims: We report the discovery of CFBDS J005910.90-011401.3 (hereafter CFBDS0059), the coolest brown dwarf identified to date.
Methods: We found CFBDS0059 using i' and z' images from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), and present optical and near-infrared photometry, Keck laser-guide-star adaptive optics imaging, and a complete near-infrared spectrum, from 1.0 to 2.2 μm.
Results: A side-to-side comparison of the near-infrared spectra of CFBDS0059 and ULAS J003402.77-005206.7 (hereafter ULAS0034), previously the coolest known brown dwarf, indicates that CFBDS0059 is ~50 ± 15 K cooler. We estimate a temperature of T_eff ∼ 620 K and gravity of log g ~ 4.75. Evolutionary models translate these parameters into an age of 1-5 Gyr and a mass of 15-30 M_Jup. We estimate a photometric distance of ~13 pc, which puts CFBDS0059 within easy reach of accurate parallax measurements. Its large proper motion suggests membership in the older population of the thin disk. The spectra of both CFBDS0059 and ULAS J0034 show probable absorption by a wide ammonia band on the blue side of the H-band flux peak. If, as we expect, that feature deepens further for still lower effective temperatures, its appearance will become a natural breakpoint for the transition between the T spectral class and the new Y spectral type. Together, CFBDS0059 and ULAS J0034 would then be the first Y0 dwarfs.
Based in part on observations obtained with MegaPrime/MegaCam, a joint project of CFHT and CEA/DAPNIA, at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) which is operated by the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada, the Institut National des Sciences de l'Univers of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) of France, and the University of Hawaii. This work is based in part on data products produced at TERAPIX and the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre as part of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Legacy Survey, a collaborative project of NRC and CNRS. Also based on observations obtained at the Gemini Observatory, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under a cooperative agreement with the NSF on behalf of the Gemini partnership: the National Science Foundation (United States), the Science and Technology Facilities Council (United Kingdom), the National Research Council (Canada), CONICYT (Chile), the Australian Research Council (Australia), CNPq (Brazil) and SECYT (Argentina) under programs GN-2007A-Q-201 and GN-2007B-Q-3. Also based on observations made with ESO Telescopes at the La Silla Observatory under programmes 078.C-0629 and 078.A-0651. Some of the data presented herein were obtained at the
W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership
among the California Institute of Technology, the University of
California, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The
Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the
W. M. Keck Foundation.