Brown dwarfs are compact objects with masses up to ~75 times the mass of Jupiter, yet not massive enough to start hydrogen fusion in their cores. After a brief interlude on the Deuterium burning "main-sequence'', Brown Dwarfs are left without an internal energy source, and continue to cool down steadily.
They have long been an elusive class of objects. Almost 3 decades passed until the first of these objects was discovered. Nowadays, we know several hundreds of them, as a result of the near-infrared all sky surveys DENIS and 2MASS.
With spectral properties intermediate between those of giant planets and late-type stars, Brown Dwarfs have opened a new and important chapter in the study of atmospheric physics and chemistry, and (sub-) stellar formation and evolution.
The main scientific goals of the applicant during an Outgoing Marie Curie Fellowship will be to test the different models of formation and evolution of ultracool and brown dwarfs by means of their properties in different environments and ages.
He will thus study the physical properties of:
- young Brown Dwarfs and their disks in star forming regions. Brown Dwarfs at young ages are indeed the most natural way to study their formation and evolution. The presence or absence of circumstellar material , the physical and statistical properties of this material and the way it evolves with age are crucial parameters.
- binary brown dwarfs in different environments (in the field, in stellar clusters and in Star Forming Regions).
Binaries and multiple systems give also extremely important constrains on the models of formation and evolution: their frequency, their properties (mass ratio, separation), and the way they depend on the environment and age give important clues on the formation and evolution of these objects.
Fields of science
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