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Title: Observational properties of brown dwarfs : the low-mass end of the mass function
Author: Cardoso, Catia Vanessa Varejao
ISNI:       0000 0004 2716 4582
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2012
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Brown dwarfs are objects with sub-stellar masses that are unable to sustain hydrogen burning, cooling down through out their lifetimes. This thesis presents two projects, the study of the IMF of the double cluster, h & χ Persei, and the determination of the dynamical masses of the brown dwarf binary, ε Indi Ba, Bb. The study of a cluster’s population distribution gives us the opportunity to study a statistically meaningful population of objects over a wide range of masses (from massive stars to brown dwarfs), with a similar age and chemical composition providing formation and dynamical evolution constraints. h & χ Persei is the largest double cluster known in our galaxy. Using optical and infrared photometric data we have produced the deepest mass function for the system. A study of the radial distribution shows evidence of mass segregation while the mass function shows that these clusters may be suffering from accelerated dynamical evolution due to their interaction, triggering the ejection of brown dwarfs. The physical parameterization of brown dwarfs is reliant on the use of interior and atmospheric models. The study of brown dwarf binaries can provide crucial model independent measurements, especially masses. ε Indi Ba, Bb (spectral types T1 and T6) is the closest known brown dwarf binary to Earth. The brown dwarf binary itself orbits a main sequence star allowing us to constrain the distance, metallicity and age of the system making it possible to break the sub-stellar mass-age-luminosity degeneracy. The relative motion of the brown dwarf binary has been studied with precision astrometry from infrared AO data, allowing the determination of the system mass, 121.16 ± 0.17 ± 1.08 MJup . The individual masses of the binary components were derived from the absolute movement of the binary to be MBa = 68.04±0.94 MJup and MBb = 53.12±0.32 MJup. We concluded that the isochronally-derived masses were underestimating the system mass by ∼ 60%, due to the likely underestimation of the age of the system. The evolutionary models are consistent with the parameters measured observationally if the system has an age ∼ 4 Gyr.
Supervisor: McCaughrean, Mark J. ; Pont, Frederic Sponsor: Marie Curie ; EC ; RTN
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Star Formation ; Brown Dwarfs ; Binary and multiple stars