PI: Mary Barsony, SFSU & SSI, email@example.com
Address: Northern CA Office, 13115 Dupont Road, Sebastopol, CA 95472, USA
CoI: Karl E. Haisch, Jr., UVU
CoI: Chris McCarthy, SFSU
CoI: Adam J. Burgasser, UCSD
Title: Young Planetary Mass Objects in the \rho Ophiuchi Cloud Core
Abstract: The lowest mass objects directly observable outside of the Solar system are T dwarfs-with atmospheres so cool that methane and water vapor are their major constituents. Since they have no internal energy source, they are, by far, at their brightest upon formation, when they are young, and subsequently cool over their long lifetimes. T dwarfs in the Solar neighborhood are rather old, and have cooled considerably, such that their typical masses are in the range 10-60 Jupiter masses (M_Jup). The number density of sub-stellar objects in the Solar neighborhood seems to be increasing towards lower masses down to ~10-20 M_Jup, but it is not clear what happens at even lower masses. Discovering free-floating Jupiters in the Solar neighborhood is a daunting task. An alternative approach to discovering such objects is to hunt for them in the nearest star-forming regions, when they are at their hottest and brightest, making even ~2 M_Jup mass objects detectable. Our team has discovered 22 candidate T dwarfs in the nearby (d=125 pc) \rho Ophiuchi cloud core, which, at ages of just 1 Myr, may have masses between ~1-2 M_Jup. One night of Magellan time is requested to use the FIRE spectrograph to elucidate the nature of 4-5 of our best candidates.
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