New brown dwarf discs in Upper Scorpius observed with WISE

P. Dawson, A. Scholz, T. P. Ray, K. A. Marsh, K. Wood, A. Natta, D. Padgett, M. E. Ressler

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29 Citations (Scopus)


We present a census of the disc population for UKIDSS selected brown dwarfs in the 5-10 Myr old Upper Scorpius OB association. For 116 objects originally identified in UKIDSS, the majority of them not studied in previous publications, we obtain photometry from the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer data base. The resulting colour-magnitude and colour-colour plots clearly show two separate populations of objects, interpreted as brown dwarfs with discs (class II) and without discs (class III). We identify 27 class II brown dwarfs, 14 of them not previously known. This disc fraction (27 out of 116, or 23%) among brown dwarfs was found to be similar to results for K/M stars in Upper Scorpius, suggesting that the lifetimes of discs are independent of the mass of the central object for low-mass stars and brown dwarfs. 5 out of 27 discs (19 per cent) lack excess at 3.4 and 4.6 μm and are potential transition discs (i.e. are in transition from class II to class III). The transition disc fraction is comparable to low-mass stars. We estimate that the time-scale for a typical transition from class II to class III is less than 0.4 Myr for brown dwarfs. These results suggest that the evolution of brown dwarf discs mirrors the behaviour of discs around low-mass stars, with disc lifetimes of the order of 5-10 Myr and a disc clearing time-scale significantly shorter than 1 Myr.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903-914
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Early online date5 Dec 2012
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013


  • techniques: photometric
  • open clusters and associations: individual: Upper Scorpius
  • infrared: stars


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