Searching for Young Planetary Mass Companions
          Patrick Lowrance, SSC/Caltech
          Gael Chauvin, ESO
          Inseok Song, Genini
          Ben Zuckerman, UCLA
          Christophe Dumas, ESO
          Glenn Schneider, University of Arizona
          Jean-Luc Beuzit, Grenoble

          Young, nearby stellar associations are ideal targets for the possible direct detection of sub-stellar companions as their proximity (< 100 pc)  allows exploration of the faint circumstellar environment at relatively  small distances from the star, and sub-stellar objects are hotter and  brighter when young (~10 Myr). We present preliminary results of a deep adaptive optics (AO) imaging survey with the VLT as well as spectroscopic observations of the 30 MJup brown dwarf 2MASSWJ 1207334-393254.25, located ~70 pc from Earth and recently identified as a member of the  TW Hydrae Association (age ~ 8 Myr). Using adaptive optics infrared  wavefront sensing to acquire sharp images of its circumstellar environment, we discovered a faint, but very red object at an angular separation of ~780 mas (projected ~55 AU). Photometry in the H, Ks and L bands and upper limit in J-band are compatible with a late L spectral type.  Near-infrared spectroscopy remains consistent with this spectral type estimate. Follow-up HST/NICMOS observations will be discussed.  Different evolutionary models predict an object within the planetary regime with a mass < 7 MJup if confirmed by proper motion later this year