Planetary Building Blocks Found in Surprising Place
Ssc2005 06a

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/K. Luhman (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA)

Chart • July 2nd, 2004 • ssc2005-06a


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.

About the Object

OTS 44
Star > Type > Brown Dwarf
Star > Circumstellar Material > Disk > Debris
554 Light Years

Color Mapping

Band Wavelength Telescope
Infrared Spitzer IRAC
Infrared 2MASS


Position (J2000)
RA =11h 10m 11.5s
Dec = -76° 32' 13.0"
Field of View
0.0 x 0.0 arcminutes
North is up