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Physics and Astronomy


We have identified 274 M-type brown dwarfs in the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3 pure parallel fields from the Brightest of Reionizing Galaxies (BoRG) survey for high-redshift galaxies. These are near-infrared observations with multiple lines of sight out of our Milky Way. Using these observed M-type brown dwarfs, we fitted a Galactic disc and halo model with a Markov chain Monte Carlo analysis. This model worked best with the scalelength of the disc fixed at h = 2.6 kpc. For the scaleheight of the disc, we found z0=0.29+0.02−0.019 z0=0.29−0.019+0.02 kpc and for the central number density, ρ0=0.29+0.20−0.13 ρ0=0.29−0.13+0.20 # pc−3. For the halo, we derived a flattening parameter κ = 0.45 ± 0.04 and a power-law index p = 2.4 ± 0.07. We found the fraction of M-type brown dwarfs in the local density that belong to the halo to be fh = 0.0075 +0.0025−0.0019 −0.0019+0.0025 . We found no correlation between subtype of M-dwarf and any model parameters. The total number of M-type brown dwarfs in the disc and halo was determined to be 58.2+9.81−6.70×109 58.2−6.70+9.81×109 . We found an upper limit for the fraction of M-type brown dwarfs in the halo of 7 +5−4 −4+5  per cent. The upper limit for the total Galactic disc mass in M-dwarfs is 4.34+0.73−0.5×109 4.34−0.5+0.73×109 M⊙, assuming all M-type brown dwarfs have a mass of 80 MJ.


This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Copyright: 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Original Publication Information

van Vledder, Isabel, et al. "The Size and Shape of the Milky Way Disc and Halo from M-type Brown Dwarfs in the BoRG Survey." 2016. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 458(1): 425-437.