Exploring the brown dwarf desert: New substellar companions from the SDSS-III MARVELS survey

Nolan Grieves, Jian Ge, Neil Thomas, Bo Ma, Sirinrat Sithajan, Luan Ghezzi, Ben Kimock, Kevin Willis, Nathan De Lee, Brian Lee, Scott W. Fleming, Eric Agol, Nicholas Troup, Martin Paegert, Donald P. Schneider, Keivan Stassun, Frank Varosi, Bo Zhao, Liu Jian, Rui LiGustavo F. Porto de Mello, Dmitry Bizyaev, Kaike Pan, Letícia Dutra-Ferreira, Diego Lorenzo-Oliveira, Basílio X. Santiago, Luiz N. da Costa, Marcio A.G. Maia, Ricardo L.C. Ogando, E. F. del Peloso

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Planet searches using the radial velocity technique show a paucity of companions to solar-type stars within ∼5 au in the mass range of ∼10–80 MJup. This deficit, known as the brown dwarf desert, currently has no conclusive explanation. New substellar companions in this region help assess the reality of the desert and provide insight to the formation and evolution of these objects. Here, we present 10 new brown dwarf and 2 low-mass stellar companion candidates around solar-type stars from the Multi-object APO Radial Velocity Exoplanet Large-Area Survey (MARVELS) of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III. These companions were selected from processed MARVELS data using the latest University of Florida Two Dimensional pipeline, which shows significant improvement and reduction of systematic errors over previous pipelines. The 10 brown dwarf companions range in mass from ∼13 to 76 MJup and have orbital radii of less than 1 au. The two stellar companions have minimum masses of ∼98 and 100 MJup. The host stars of the MARVELS brown dwarf sample have a mean metallicity of [Fe/H] = 0.03 ± 0.08 dex. Given our stellar sample we estimate the brown dwarf occurrence rate around solar-type stars with periods less than ∼300 d to be ∼0.56 per cent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4264-4281
Number of pages18
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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