The origin of brown dwarfs

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Por Pavel Kroupa (University of Bonn & Charles University, Prague).

Brown dwarfs are thought to be like stars but to have masses so low as to be unable to sustain nuclear reactions. As they age they fade and are thus difficult to observe. Stars and brown dwarfs form in molecular clouds which are condensations in the gas between the stars of the Milky Way, and it remains unclear why in some cases stars form while in others brown dwarfs emerge. I will address these issues and will point out why the pairing statistics (e.g. frequency of star-star binaries) preclude brown dwarfs to form like stars. The star-formation process thus leads to stars and with them are associated brown dwarfs and planets, but each of these three populations have their own separate distribution of masses.

Short Bio: Being born in Bohemia, Pavel Kroupa lived in Germany, South Africa, Australia and England. He studied physics at The University of Western Australia in Perth, obtained his PhD in Cambridge in England and his habilitation in Kiel in Northern Germany. He lived through post-doctoral positions in Heidelberg and Kiel, and is currently a professor for astronomy at the University of Bonn since 2004 and professorem hospitem at Charles University in Prague since 2017.

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Departamento de Física | Ciências ULisboa