Abstracts Fall 2012

September 20th
Emily Rice
CUNY College of Staten Island– Dept. of Engineering Science and Physics and The American Museum of Natural History
Young Brown Dwarfs as Exoplanet Analogs
Hosted by: Timothy Paglione

ABSTRACT: Young Brown Dwarfs as Exoplanet Analogs

In the quest to understand the physical properties of the lowest mass stars and relatively massive brown dwarfs (objects too low mass to fuse hydrogen like stars), observed spectra are a key source of information. Many low mass objects have unusual spectral features that are yet to be explained by underlying physical properties. One class of these objects are thought to be young and their spectral features the result of low surface gravity, which drastically changes atmospheric properties. Because brown dwarfs cool, fade, and shrink with time, they will be hotter, brighter, and more inflated than objects of the same mass at an older ages. The same evolution occurs for gas giant planets, and indeed the physical properties of exoplanets and brown dwarfs can overlap at different evolutionary stages. Therefore young brown dwarfs can be essential tools for understanding the atmospheres of gas giant exoplanets. I will describe how we identify, confirm, and characterize young brown dwarfs and how these objects will advance our understanding of directly-imaged exoplanets.