Multiplicity among young brown dwarfs and very low mass stars

Mirza Ahmic, Ray Jayawardhana, Alexis Brandeker, Alexander Scholz, Marten H. Van Kerkwijk, Eduardo Delgado-Donate, Dirk Froebrich

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40 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We report on a near-infrared adaptive optics imaging survey of 31 young brown dwarfs and very low mass (VLM) stars, 28 of which are in the Chamaeleon I star-forming region, using the ESO Very Large Telescope. We resolve the suspected 0: 1600 (similar to 26 AU) binary Cha H alpha 2 and present two new binaries, Hn 13 and CHXR 15, with separations of 0: 1300 (similar to 20 AU) and 0.30" (similar to 50 AU), respectively; the latter is one of the widest VLM systems known. We find a binary frequency of 11(-6)(+9)%, thus confirming the trend for a lower binary frequency with decreasing mass. By combining our work with previous surveys, we arrive at the largest sample of young VLM objects ( 72) with high angular resolution imaging to date. Its multiplicity fraction is in statistical agreement with that for VLM objects in the field. Furthermore, we note that many field stellar binaries with lower binding energies and/or wider cross sections have survived dynamical evolution and that statistical models suggest tidal disruption by passing stars is unlikely to affect the binary properties of our systems. Thus, we argue that there is no significant evolution of multiplicity with age among brown dwarfs and VLM stars in OB and Tassociations between a few megayears to several gigayears. Instead, the observations so far suggest that VLM objects are either less likely to be born in fragile multiple systems than solar-mass stars or such systems are disrupted very early.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2074-2081
Number of pages8
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume671
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2007

Keywords

  • binaries : general
  • planetary systems
  • stars : formation
  • stars : low-mass
  • brown dwarfs
  • stars : luminosity function
  • mass function
  • T-TAURI PHASE
  • UPPER-SCORPIUS
  • CHAMELEON-I
  • EVOLUTIONARY MODELS
  • SUBSTELLAR BOUNDARY
  • BINARY POPULATION
  • ULTRACOOL BINARY
  • FORMING REGIONS
  • WIDE BINARIES
  • RHO-OPHIUCHI

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