Brown dwarfs forming in discs: Where to look for them?
School of Physics & Astronomy Cardiff University, 5 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AA, UK
a e-mail: D.Stamatellos@astro.cf.ac.uk
A large fraction of the observed brown dwarfs may form by gravitational fragmentation of unstable discs. This model reproduces the brown dwarf desert, and provides an explanation for the existence of planetary-mass objects and for the binary properties of low-mass objects. We have performed an ensemble of radiative hydrodynamic simulations and determined the statistical properties of the low-mass objects produced by gravitational fragmentation of discs. We suggest that there is a population of brown dwarfs loosely bound on wide orbits (100–5000 AU) around Sun-like stars that surveys of brown dwarf companions should target. Our simulations also indicate that planetary-mass companions to Sun-like stars are unlikely to form by disc fragmentation.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2011