23 New free-floating planetary mass objects in Sigma Orionis

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23 New free-floating planetary mass objects in Sigma Orionis

Post by Sirius_Alpha on 22nd May 2012, 8:27 pm

New isolated planetary mass objects and the stellar and substellar mass function of the sigma Orionis cluster
http://arxiv.org/abs/1205.4950

We report on our analysis of the VISTA Orion ZYJHKs photometric data (completeness magnitudes Z=22.6 and J=21.0mag) focusing on a circular area of 2798.4 arcmin^2 around the young sigma Orionis star cluster (~3Myr, ~352pc, solar metallicity). The combination of the VISTA photometry with optical, WISE and Spitzer data allows us to identify a total of 210 cluster member candidates with masses in the interval 0.25-0.004Msun, 23 of which are new planetary-mass object findings. These discoveries double the number of cluster planetary-mass candidates known so far. One object has colors compatible with a T spectral type. The cluster harbors about as many brown dwarfs (69, 0.072-0.012Msun) and planetary-mass objects (37, 0.012-0.004Msun) as very low-mass stars (104, 0.25-0.072Msun). Based on Spitzer data, we derive a disk frequency of ~40% for very low-mass stars, brown dwarfs, and planetary mass objects in sigma Orionis. The radial density distributions of these three mass intervals are alike: all are spatially concentrated within an effective radius of 12arcmin (1.2pc) around the multiple star sigma Ori, and no obvious segregation between disk-bearing and diskless objects is observed. Using the VISTA data and the Mayrit catalog, we derive the cluster mass spectrum (DeltaN/DeltaM ~ M^{-alpha}) from ~19 to 0.006Msun (VISTA ZJ completeness), which is reasonably described by two power-law expressions with indices of alpha=1.7+/-0.2 for M>0.35Msun, and alpha=0.6+/-0.2 for M<0.35Msun. The sigma Orionis mass spectrum smoothly extends into the planetary-mass regime down to 0.004Msun. Our findings of T-type sources (<0.004Msun) in the VISTA sigma Orionis exploration appear to be smaller than what is predicted by the extrapolation of the cluster mass spectrum down to the survey J-band completeness.

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