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2020 Foresight on Brown Dwarfs Astrophysics

Event Details

Event Dates: 

Monday, January 28, 2019 - 4:00pm

Seminar Location: 

  • JILA Auditorium

Speaker Name(s): 

Adam Burgasser

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

University of California San Diego
Seminar Type/Subject

Scientific Seminar Type: 

  • Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences Colloquia

Event Details & Abstract: 

It’s been nearly a quarter century since the first examples of brown dwarfs - non-fusing “stars” supported by degeneracy pressure - were uncovered in deep sky surveys and targeted search programs. Today, several thousand such objects are known in the immediate vicinity of the Sun, encompassing three newly-defined spectral classes and fully bridging the physical properties of hydrogen-fusing main sequence stars and gas giant (exo)planets. The abundance and unique properties of brown dwarfs are also increasingly being exploited to study larger Galactic systems. As astronomy begins its decadal review process, I will discuss how this mild and unassuming population can address fundamental astrophysical questions through planned or proposed missions and facilities.

I will focus in particular on: (1) empirical tests of the physics of degenerate hydrogen-rich matter, (2) chemical and dynamic processes in condensate-stratified brown dwarf and exoplanet atmospheres, (3) the demographics of potentially habitable terrestrial worlds, and (4) the chemical enrichment history of the Milky Way and Galactic structures.


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