Possible Observational Criteria for Distinguishing Brown Dwarfs from Planets


The difference in formation process between binary stars and planetary systems is reflected in their composition as well as their orbital architecture, particularly orbital eccentricity as a function of orbital period. It is suggested here that this difference can be used as an observational criterion to distinguish between brown dwarfs and planets. Application of the orbital criterion suggests that with three possible exceptions, all of the recently-discovered substellar companions discovered to date may be brown dwarfs and not planets. These criterion may be used as a guide for interpretation of the nature of sub-stellar mass companions to stars in the future. Subject headings: binaries: spectroscopic, low-mass brown dwarfs, (stars:) planetary sytems, stars: pre-main sequence


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