the properties of young brown dwarfs
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The Properties of Young Brown Dwarfs. John D. Shaw. What’s a Brown Dwarf?. M Dwarf 75 M Jup 2,700 K. L Dwarf 65 M Jup 1700 K. T Dwarf 30 M Jup 900 K. Jupiter 180 K. The Sun 1050 M Jup 5,800 K. Brown Dwarfs. Artist Rendition by R. Hurt. What is a Brown Dwarf?.

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what s a brown dwarf
What’s a Brown Dwarf?

M Dwarf

75 MJup

2,700 K

L Dwarf

65 MJup

1700 K

T Dwarf

30 MJup

900 K


180 K

The Sun

1050 MJup

5,800 K

Brown Dwarfs

Artist Rendition by R. Hurt

what is a brown dwarf
What is a Brown Dwarf?
  • Not enough mass to sustain proton-proton Nuclear Fusion in its core like the sun.
  • Gravitational Potential energy from the gas coalescing to form brown dwarf becomes heat.
  • Gas pressure supports the brown dwarf.
  • As the gas cools it emits light (mostly infrared).
  • Much dimmer than the sun or other stars.
what study brown dwarfs
What study Brown Dwarfs?
  • Limits of conditions for fusion.
  • Theory suggest there should be large numbers of the objects – how do we find them?
  • Do they develop like stars with planetary systems?
    • How many?
    • What range of sizes?

CTIO at night


Our primary observatory.

search method
Search Method
  • Observe same area of sky 5 – 10 years apart with wide surveys.
  • Look for movement!
  • Process includes writing software to resize and align images.
  • Then scan the images (automatically and manually) for noticeable differences.
  • This process is partially complete.
follow up
Follow Up
  • Use other telescopes to observe the candidate objects at different wavelengths to determine their temperatures
  • If the objects are cool enough follow up with spectroscopic observations (from ground and space based telescopes)
spectra confirmed brown dwarf
Spectra – Confirmed Brown Dwarf!


Dashed line is M-dwarf of same spectral type. Arrow indicates presence of lithium

  • Find young brown dwarfs based on photometric temperature.
  • Look for excess in Infrared (5 -10 μm) spectrum to indicate dust in a disk surrounding the brown dwarf.
  • Determine composition, size and dynamics of disk.
  • Hope to find system(s) with planet formation in disk.