March 5, 1998 CfA Colloquium


Title: Brown Dwarfs: The New Frontier

Speaker: Jonathan Lunine

Abstract: In the last several year the study of brown dwarfs, objects intermediate in mass between planets and low mass stars, has experienced a rennaissance. Spectra of Gliese 229B and of other cool objects allows the thermal structure and chemistry of such objects to be determined. The availability of high-throughput computing has, at the same time, opened the door to atmosphere and interior models whose complexity is commensurate with the new data. These new models and their interaction with the observations will be featured. Another novel class of observations is the detection of Jupiter-mass planets around other stars, and some of these are in orbits much closer to the parent than is Jupiter to the sun. Ideas for how this situation might arise, and how common it is, will be briefly considered.

Reference for students: Burrows et al. (1997). ApJ 491, 856.