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Tom Ray, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies
"Accretion Disks and Outflows Around Brown Dwarfs"

Brown dwarfs are bodies intermediate in mass between stars and planets. They are often described as 'failed stars', as their cores never reach high enough temperatures for hydrogen to fuse. Recent studies have shown that young brown dwarfs, like young stars, may be surrounded by accretion disks. In some cases these disks appear to be highly evolved, suggesting they are in the early phases of planetary formation. As accretion is often accompanied by outflows in newborn stars, we have been searching for jets from young brown dwarfs. I report here on a number of recent discoveries with the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope (VLT). These findings not only show that the outflow mechanism operates over 10 orders of mass (from supermassive black holes in Active Galactic Nuclei to brown dwarfs) but suggests that it may even function in the case of Jovian-like planet formation.

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Last Revised: 2007 January 31st
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