A new brown dwarf desert? A scarcity of wide ultracool binaries

Peter R. Allen, David W. Koerner, Michael W. McElwain, Kelle L. Cruz, I. Neill Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


We present the results of a deep-imaging search for wide companions to low-mass stars and brown dwarfs using NSFCam on the Infrared Telescope Facility. We searched a sample of 132 M7-L8 dwarfs to magnitude limits of J ∼ 20.5 and K ∼ 18.5, corresponding to secondary-to-primary mass ratios of ∼0.5. No companions were found with separations between 2″ and 31″ (∼40 to ∼1000 AU). This null result implies a wide companion frequency below 2.3% at the 95% confidence level within the sensitivity limits of the survey. Preliminary modeling efforts indicate that we could have detected 85% of companions more massive than 0.05 M and 50% above 0.03 M .

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)971-978
Number of pages8
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Binaries: general
  • Stars: low-mass, brown dwarfs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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