Substellar Objects in Nearby Young Clusters (SONYC). III. Chamaeleon-I

Mužić, Koraljka; Scholz, Alexander; Geers, Vincent; Fissel, Laura; Jayawardhana, Ray
The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 732, Issue 2, article id. 86, 9 pp. (2011).


SONYC—Substellar Objects in Nearby Young Clusters—is a survey program to investigate the frequency and properties of substellar objects with masses down to a few times that of Jupiter in nearby star-forming regions. In this third paper, we present our recent results in the Chamaeleon-I star-forming region. We have carried out deep optical and near-infrared imaging in four bands (I, z, J, KS ) using VIMOS on the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope (VLT) and SOFI on the New Technology Telescope, and combined our data with mid-infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope. The survey covers ~0.25 deg2 on the sky and reaches completeness limits of 23.0 in the I band, 18.3 in the J band, and 16.7 in the KS band. Follow-up spectroscopy of the candidates selected from the optical photometry (I <~ 21) was carried out using the multi-object spectrograph VIMOS on the VLT. We identify 13 objects consistent with M spectral types, 11 of which are previously known M dwarfs with confirmed membership in the cluster. The two newly reported objects have effective temperatures above the substellar limit. We also present two new candidate members of Chamaeleon-I, selected from our JK photometry combined with the Spitzer data. Based on the results of our survey, we estimate that the number of missing very low mass members down to ~0.008 M sun and AV <= 5 is <=7, i.e., <=3% of the total cluster population according to the current census.

Based on observations collected at the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, Chile (programs 078.C-0049 and 382.C-0174).