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Spectroscopy of planetary mass brown dwarfs in Orion




We report the results of near infrared spectroscopy of 11 luminosity-selected candidate planetary mass objects (PMOs) in the Trapezium Cluster with Gemini South/Gemini Near-Infrared Spectrograph and Gemini North/Near-Infrared Imager. Six have spectral types ≥M9, in agreement with expectations for PMOs. Two have slightly earlier types, and three are much earlier types which are probably field stars. Four of the six sources with types ≥M9 have pseudo-continuum profiles which confirm them as low gravity cluster members. The gravity status of the other cool dwarfs is less clear but these remain candidate PMOs. The derived number fraction of PMOs with M= 3 – 15 MJup is 1–14 per cent, these broad limits reflecting the uncertainty in source ages. However, the number fraction with M < 20 MJup is at least 5 per cent. These detections add significantly to the body of evidence that a planetary mass population is produced by the star formation process.

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