Teide 1 and the Discovery of Brown Dwarfs

  • Rafael ReboloEmail author
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 401)


In 1995, after many years of intense observational efforts, brown dwarfs were finally discovered in a star cluster and also orbiting a star. The work that led to the discovery and characterization of the brown dwarf Teide 1 is described here. This very red object was detected in optical images of the central region of the Pleiades cluster obtained by our group with the IAC80 telescope (Teide Observatory, Tenerife) in January 1994. Follow-up spectroscopy in December 1994 with the 4.2 m William Herschel Telescope (Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, La Palma) confirmed its cool nature. Teide 1 was one of the coolest objects known at that time and the coolest found in a star cluster. The location, photometric and spectroscopic properties, the measured proper motion and kinematics fully supported membership in the young Pleiades cluster and set strong constraints on its age. According to evolutionary models the low luminosity and cool atmospheric temperature of such a young object implied a mass significantly below the minimum required for stable hydrogen burning. On 22 May 1995, we submitted to Nature a manuscript reporting the discovery of Teide 1. By the time of the publication, on 14 September 1995, we had already extended the survey and found other similar objects in the Pleiades cluster, among them, Calar 3. Evidence for full preservation of lithium in the atmospheres of these two brown dwarfs was obtained with the Keck telescope on 20–21 November 2005. These early findings suggested the existence of a large number of brown dwarfs in the Pleiades and indicated by extrapolation that billions of these objects could populate our Galaxy. Subsequent surveys have confirmed such a numerous population of brown dwarfs. Remarkably, the nearest brown dwarf to the Sun may still remain undetected.


Star Cluster Solar Neighbourhood Carbon Star Tauri Star Brown Dwarf 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



During more than 20 years, I have had the great pleasure and privilege to collaborate with many colleagues sharing their interest and efforts to study low-mass stars and brown dwarfs. I wish to thank all for their dedication and invaluable contributions to these studies. My thanks go to M. R. Zapatero Osorio, E. Martín and A. Magazzù for providing photographic material. I also want to give special thanks to the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias and Spanish Academic authorities that have continuously supported substellar research throughout many years and hopefully will continue doing so.


  1. Abia, C., Boffin, H.M.J., Isern, J., Rebolo, R.: IY Hya – A new super Li-rich carbon star. Astron. Astrophys. 245, L1–L4 (1991)ADSGoogle Scholar
  2. Abia, C., Boffin, H.M.J., Isern, J., Rebolo, R.: Lithium abundances in a flux-limited sample of galactic carbon stars. Astron. Astrophys. 272, 455 (1993)ADSGoogle Scholar
  3. Baraffe, I., Chabrier, G., Allard, F., Hauschildt, P.H.: New evolutionary tracks for very low mass stars. Astrophys. J. 446, L35 (1995)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Basri, G., Marcy, G.W., Graham, J.R.: Lithium in Brown Dwarf candidates: the mass and age of the faintest Pleiades stars. Astrophys. J. 458, 600 (1996)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Becklin, E.E., Zuckerman, B.: A low-temperature companion to a white dwarf star. Nature 336, 656–658 (1988)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Béjar, V.J.S., Zapatero Osorio, M.R., Rebolo, R., Caballero, J.A., Barrado, D., Martín, E.L., Mundt, R., Bailer-Jones, C.A.L.: The substellar population of sigma Orionis: a deep wide survey. Astrophys. J. 743, 64 (2011)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bihain, G., Rebolo, R., Béjar, V.J.S., Caballero, J.A., Bailer-Jones, C.A.L., Mundt, R., Acosta-Pulido, J.A., Manchado Torres, A.: Pleiades low-mass brown dwarfs: the cluster L dwarf sequence. Astron. Astrophy. 458, 805–816 (2006)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bihain, G., Rebolo, R., Zapatero Osorio, M.R., Béjar, V.J.S., Caballero, J.A.: Near-infrared low-resolution spectroscopy of Pleiades L-type brown dwarfs. Astron. Astrophys. 519, A93 (2010)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bouvier, J., Stauffer, J.R., Martín, E.L., Barrado y Navascués, D., Wallace, B., Béjar, V.J.S.: Brown dwarfs and very low-mass stars in the Pleiades cluster: a deep wide-field imaging survey. Astron. Astrophys. 336, 490–502 (1998)ADSGoogle Scholar
  10. Burrows, A., Liebert, J.: The science of brown dwarfs. Rev. Mod. Phys. 65, 301–336 (1993)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Comerón, F., Neuhäuser, R., Kaas, A.A.: Probing the brown dwarf population of the Chamaeleon I star forming region. Astron. Astrophys. 359, 269–288 (2000)ADSGoogle Scholar
  12. Cushing, M.C., et al.: The discovery of Y dwarfs using data from the wide-field infrared survey explorer (WISE). Astrophys. J. 743, 50 (2011)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. D’Antona, F., Mazzitelli, I.: Evolution of very low mass stars and brown dwarfs. I – The minimum main-sequence mass and luminosity. Astrophys. J. 296, 502–513 (1985)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. D’Antona, F., Mazzitelli, I.: New pre-main-sequence tracks for M less than or equal to 2.5 solar mass as tests of opacities and convection model. Astrophys. J. Suppl. Series 90, 467–500 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dupuy, T.J., Liu, M.C., Bowler, B.P., Cushing, M.C., Helling, C., Witte, S., Hauschildt, P.: Studying the physical diversity of late-M dwarfs with dynamical masses. Astrophys. J. 721, 1725–1747 (2010)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Forrest, W.J., Shure, M., Skrutskie, M.F.: A possible brown dwarf companion to Gliese 569. Astrophys. J. 330, L119–L123 (1988)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. García López, R.J., Rebolo, R., Magazzù, A., Beckman, J.E.: Chromospheric activity and Lithium abundances in Pleiades low-mass stars. Memorie della Societa Astronomica Italiana 62, 187 (1991)ADSGoogle Scholar
  18. García López, R.J., Rebolo, R., Martín, E.L.: Pre-main sequence lithium burning. 2: Pleiades low mass stars. Astron. Astrophys. 282, 518–528 (1994)ADSGoogle Scholar
  19. Jameson, R.F., Skillen, I.: A search for low-mass stars and brown dwarfs in the Pleiades. Mon Notices Royal Astron. Soc. 239, 247–253 (1989)ADSGoogle Scholar
  20. Jones, B.F., Herbig, G.H.: Proper motions of T Tauri variables and other stars associated with the Taurus-Auriga dark clouds. Astron. J. 84, 1872–1889 (1979)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kirkpatrick, J.D., Reid, I.N., Liebert, J., Cutri, R.M., Nelson, B., Beichman, C.A., Dahn, C.C., Monet, D.G., Gizis, J.E., Skrutskie, M.F.: Dwarfs cooler than “M”: the definition of spectral type “L” using discoveries from the 2 micron all-sky survey (2MASS). Astrophys. J. 519, 802–833 (1999)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kirkpatrick, J.D., et al.: Further defining spectral type “Y” and exploring the low-mass end of the field brown dwarf mass function. Astrophys. J. 753, 156 (2012)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kumar, S.S.: The structure of stars of very low mass. Astrophys. J. 137, 1121–1125 (1963)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Leggett, S.K., Morley, C.V., Marley, M.S., Saumon, D., Fortney, J.J., Visscher, C.: A comparison of near-infrared photometry and spectra for Y dwarfs with a new generation of cool cloudy models. Astrophys. J. 763, 130 (2013)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lodieu, N., Deacon, N.R., Hambly, N.C., Boudreault, S.: Astrometric and photometric initial mass functions from the UKIDSS Galactic Clusters Survey – II. The alpha Persei open cluster. Mon Notices Royal Astron. Soc. 426, 3403–3418 (2012)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Luhman, K.L.: Discovery of a binary brown dwarf at 2 pc from the sun. Astrophys. J. 767, L1 (2013)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Luhman, K.L., Rieke, G.H., Young, E.T., Cotera, A.S., Chen, H., Rieke, M.J., Schneider, G., Thompson, R.I.: The initial mass function of low-mass stars and brown dwarfs in young clusters. Astrophys. J. 540, 1016–1040 (2000)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. McCaughrean, M.J., Close, L.M., Scholz, R.-D., Lenzen, R., Biller, B., Brandner, W., Hartung, M., Lodieu, N.: Epsilon Indi Ba, Bb: the nearest binary brown dwarf. Astron. Astrophys. 413, 1029–1036 (2004)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Magazzù, A., Rebolo, R.: Lithium in T Tauri stars. Memorie della Societa Astronomica Italiana 60, 105–109 (1989)ADSGoogle Scholar
  30. Magazzù, A., Rebolo, R., Pavlenko, I.V.: Lithium abundances in classical and weak T Tauri stars. Astrophys. J. 392, 159–171 (1992)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Magazzù, A., Martín, E.L., Rebolo, R.: Lithium in the pre-main sequence triple system UX Tauri. Astron. Astrophys. 249, 149–155 (1991)ADSGoogle Scholar
  32. Magazzù, A., Martín, E.L., Rebolo, R.: A spectroscopic test for substellar objects. Astrophys. J. 404, L17–L20 (1993)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Martín, E.L., Magazzù, A., Rebolo, R.: On the post-T-Tauri nature of late-type visual companions to B-type stars. Astron. Astrophys. 257, 186–198 (1992)ADSGoogle Scholar
  34. Martín, E.L., Rebolo, R., Magazzù, A.: Constraints to the masses of brown dwarf candidates form the lithium test. Astrophys. J. 436, 262–269 (1994)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Nakajima, T., Oppenheimer, B.R., Kulkarni, S.R., Golimowski, D.A., Matthews, K., Durrance, S.T.: Discovery of a cool brown dwarf. Nature 378, 463–465 (1995)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Nelson, L.A., Rappaport, S., Chiang, E.: On the Li and Be tests for brown dwarfs. Astrophys. J. 413, 364–367 (1993)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Oppenheimer, B.R., Kulkarni, S.R., Matthews, K., Nakajima, T.: Infrared spectrum of the cool brown dwarf Gl 229B. Science 270, 1478–1479 (1995)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pozio, F.: Li in brown dwarfs and very low mass pre-MS stars. Memorie della Societa Astronomica Italiana 62, 171–179 (1991)ADSGoogle Scholar
  39. Rebolo, R.: Lithium and beryllium in main sequence stars. IAU Symp 145 Evolution of Stars: The Photospheric Abundance Connection 145, 85 (1991)Google Scholar
  40. Rebolo, R., Martín, E.L., Magazzù, A.: Spectroscopy of a brown dwarf candidate in the Alpha Persei open cluster. Astrophys. J. 389, L83–L86 (1992)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rebolo, R., Zapatero Osorio, M.R., Martín, E.L.: Discovery of a brown dwarf in the Pleiades star cluster. Nature 377, 129 (1995)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rebolo, R., Martín, E.L., Basri, G., Marcy, G.W., Zapatero-Osorio, M.R.: Brown dwarfs in the Pleiades cluster confirmed by the lithium test. Astrophys. J. 469, L53 (1996)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Rebolo, R., Zapatero Osorio, M.R., Madruga, S., Béjar, V.J.S., Arribas, S., Licandro, J.: Discovery of a low-mass brown dwarf companion of the young nearby star G 196–3. Science 282, 1309 (1998)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Rieke, G.H., Rieke, M.J.: Possible substellar objects in the Rho Ophiuchi cloud. Astrophys. J. 362, L21–L24 (1990)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rosvick, J.M., Mermilliod, J.C., Mayor, M.: Investigation of the Pleiades cluster. I – Radial velocities of corona stars. Astron. Astrophys. 255, 130–138 (1992)ADSGoogle Scholar
  46. Ruiz, M.T., Leggett, S.K., Allard, F.: Kelu-1: A free-floating brown dwarf in the solar neighborhood. Astrophys. J. 491, L107 (1997)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Stassun, K.G., Mathieu, R.D., Valenti, J.A.: Discovery of two young brown dwarfs in an eclipsing binary system. Nature 440, 311–314 (2006)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Stauffer, J., Hamilton, D., Probst, R., Rieke, G., Mateo, M.: Possible Pleiades members with M of about 0.07 solar mass – identification of brown dwarf candidates of known age, distance, and metallicity. Astrophys. J. 344, L21–L24 (1989)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Stauffer, J., Herter, T., Hamilton, D., Rieke, G.H., Rieke, M.J., Probst, R., Forrest, W.: Spectroscopy of Taurus cloud brown dwarf candidates. Astrophys. J. 367, L23–L26 (1991)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Stauffer, J.R., Liebert, J., Giampapa, M., Macintosh, B., Reid, N., Hamilton, D.: Radial velocities of very low mass stars and candidate brown dwarf members of the Hyades and Pleiades. Astron. J. 108, 160–174 (1994)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Zapatero Osorio, M.R., Béjar, V.J.S., Martín, E.L., Rebolo, R., Barrado y Navascués, D., Bailer-Jones, C.A.L., Mundt, R.: Discovery of young, isolated planetary mass objects in the sigma Orionis star cluster. Science 290, 103–107 (2000)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Zapatero Osorio, M.R., Lane, B.F., Pavlenko, Y., Martín, E.L., Britton, M., Kulkarni, S.R.: Dynamical masses of the binary brown dwarf GJ 569 Bab. Astrophys. J. 615, 958–971 (2005)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Zapatero Osorio, M.R., Rebolo, R., Martín, E.L., Basri, G., Magazzù, A., Hodgkin, S.T., Jameson, R.F., Cossburn, M.R.: New brown dwarfs in the pleiades cluster. Astrophys. J. 491, L81 (1997)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Zuckerman, B., Becklin, E.E.: Companions to white dwarfs – very low-mass stars and the brown dwarf candidate GD 165B. Astrophys. J. 386, 260–264 (1992)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Astrofísica de CanariasLa LagunaSpain

Personalised recommendations