Friday, May 27, 2016

A non-uniform distribution of the nearest brown dwarfs

A non-uniform distribution of the nearest brown dwarfs


Bihain et al


The census of solar neighbours is still complemented by new discoveries, mainly of very low-mass, faint dwarfs, close to or within the substellar domain. These discoveries contribute to a better understanding of the field population; its origin in terms of Galactic dynamics and (sub)stellar formation and evolution. Also, the nearest stars and brown dwarfs at any given age allow the most precise direct characterization, including the search for planetary companions. We aim to further assess the substellar census on the Galactic plane. We projected the 136 stars and 26 brown dwarfs known at less than 6.5 pc on the Galactic plane and evaluated their distributions. Stars present a uniform- and brown dwarfs a non-uniform distribution, with 21 objects behind the Sun and only five ahead relative to the direction of rotation of the Galaxy. This substellar configuration has a probability of 0.098+10.878−0.098% relative to uniformity. The helio- and geocentric nature of the distribution suggests it might result in part from an observational bias, which if compensated for by future discoveries, might increase the brown-dwarf-to-star ratio, shifting it closer to values found in some star forming regions.

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