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Astronomy Colloquium

Wednesday, November 9, 2022
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Cahill, Hameetman Auditorium
The Importance of Brown Dwarfs
Jacqueline Faherty, Senior Scientist & Senior Education Manager, Department of Astrophysics, American Museum of Natural History,

Brown Dwarfs are objects with masses that straddle "planet" and star classifications.  They are defined by an inability to sustain stable Hydrogen burning.  Their spectral energy distributions morph with time as they cool from objects as hot as stars to those as cool as Jupiter.  The atmospheres of brown dwarfs contain a potpourri of molecules and condensate cloud materials that are extremely relevant to planetary science investigations (both solar system and objects discovered beyond the Sun).  In this talk I will discuss the importance of brown dwarfs in the context of how and where they overlap with exoplanet studies.  I will particularly focus on brown dwarfs that challenge our understanding of the line between a companion planet and an isolated object.  Specifically on the collection of brown dwarfs dubbed "Super Jupiters" that have masses, temperatures, and atmosphere features nearly identical to what is seen or what is expected in exoplanet studies.   I will review how we are retrieving the bulk chemistry of brown dwarfs (companions or isolated), how we are parametrizing their cloud properties, and I will showcase results from a JWST GO Cycle 1 program that reveals the diversity of the coldest brown dwarfs.

To view this talk via YouTube, please visit:

For more information, please contact Dimitri Mawet by email at [email protected] or visit