The Spitzer Space Telescope website will be down on Tuesday July 29th from 9am PST to 10am PST for server maintenance. Thank you for your patience.

Download Image

About the Image

About the Object

Color Mapping

Astrometrics

07.02.04

Planetary Building Blocks Found in Surprising Place

This graph of data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows that an extraordinarily low-mass brown dwarf, or "failed star," is circled by a disk of planet-building dust. The brown dwarf, called OTS 44, is only 15 times the mass of Jupiter, making it the smallest known brown dwarf to host a planet-forming disk.

Spitzer was able to see this unusual disk by measuring its infrared brightness. Whereas a brown dwarf without a disk (red dashed line) radiates infrared light at shorter wavelengths, a brown dwarf with a disk (orange line) gives off excess infrared light at longer wavelengths. This surplus light comes from the disk itself and is represented here as a yellow dotted line. Actual data points from observations of OTS 44 are indicated with orange dots. These data were acquired using Spitzer's infrared array camera.