Hubble Infrared View of Extrasolar Planet Candidate
February 9, 2005
This is an artificial-color Hubble Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) infrared-light view of the brown dwarf star 2MASSWJ 1207334-393254 (aka 2M1207) and giant planet companion candidate. The possible companion, estimated to be about five times the mass of Jupiter, is the magenta colored spot at lower right. The brown dwarf's location is within the circle at image center. The glare of the dwarf, which is 700 times brighter than the planet candidate (as seen at Hubble's near-infrared sensitivity) has been greatly reduced through image processing of NICMOS pictures taken at different Hubble orientations. In this picture the dwarf and candidate planet are at a minimum distance of 5 billion miles apart. Further observations will be needed to confirm that the two objects are gravitationally bound. The red, green, and blue colors correspond to infrared wavelengths of (1.6, 1.1, and 0.9 microns respectively). At a temperature of only 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, the candidate companion object appears very red in the NICMOS images.
Topics: Technology Internet, TW Hydrae association, Centaurus constellation, Hubble Space Telescope, image processing, 2M1207, Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer, Methods of detecting extrasolar planets, Extrasolar planet, Infrared, Brown dwarfs