Subaru Telescope Cosponsors Conference on Brown Dwarfs in Kona, Hawaii
May 28, 2002
Brown dwarfs are celestial objects with characteristics in-between stars and large gaseous planets. They are too small to fuse hydrogen to helium in their cores like stars, but it is unclear if they form like stars from the collapse of gas clouds in interstellar space, or if they form like planets from a disk of gas surrounding a star. This is one of the many questions the nearly 150 astronomers from 16 different countries actively debated from May 20 to May 24 in Kona, Hawaii, during a conference hosted by the University of Hawaii, and cosponsored by Subaru Telescope and other observatories with facilities on Mauna Kea, Hawaii.
Brown dwarfs glow dimly in the infrared due to energy released by its slow contraction under its own weight. Subaru Telescope, with its large and smooth 8 meter primary mirror and superb location atop Mauna Kea, is one of the telescopes best suited for studying faint brown dwarfs which are often embedded in obscuring clouds of star forming regions and outshined by nearby bright stars. The large smooth mirror helps to collect a lot of light and brings it to a sharp focus so that light from the stars and brown dwarfs remain distinct. Subaru Telescope's adaptive optics (AO) system further contributes by reducing the amount of blurring caused by the Earth's atmosphere.
Several astronomers gave talks and presented posters based on results obtained by Subaru Telescope's Infrared Camera and Spectrograph (IRCS) with AO, and Coronagraphic Imager with AO (CIAO), and other instruments. These include a talk on the characteristics of young brown dwarfs in star forming regions by Dr. Motohide Tamura from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and a talk on the search for brown dwarfs orbiting stars using CIAO by Dr. Yoichi Itoh from Kobe University. Dr. Masahiko Hayashi from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan presented a talk on future plans for the Subaru Telescope AO system and its application to brown dwarf research.
Titles of talks and posters by researchers with close ties to Subaru Telescope from the conference program:
Deep Near-Infrared Surveys and Young Brown Dwarf Populations in Star Forming Regions by Motohide Tamura
Very Low Mass Stellar Populations in Star-Forming Regions: Near-Infrared Luminosity functions and Mass Functions by Yumiko Oasa
Subaru Choronagraphic Search for Companion Brown Dwarfs by Yoichi Itoh
Unified cloudy Models and Spectral Classifications of L and T dwarfs by Takashi Tsuji
Future Prospects of the Subaru Adaptive Optics and Brown Dwarf Research by Masa Hayashi
High Dynamic Range and the Search for Planets by Alan Tokunaga
Near-Infrared Adaptive Optics Spectroscopy of Binary Dwarf HD 130948B and HD 130948C by Miwa Goto
H and K-band Methane Features in and L Dwarf, 2MASS0920+35 by Takashi Nakajima
Further Information on the conference can be obtained at: