NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009B-0006

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Proposal Information for 2009B-0006


PI: Kevin Luhman, Penn State University, kluhman@astro.psu.edu
Address: Astronomy Department, Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA

Title: Searching for the Bottom of the Initial Mass Function

Abstract: The measurement of the minimum mass at which star-like objects can form would provide a fundamental test of theories of star and planet formation. To date, the IMF has been measured down to ~10 M_\rm Jup in a few young clusters; there is no sign of a low-mass cutoff in these data. To extend these constraints on the minimum mass of the IMF to lower masses, I have obtained deep images of the young cluster IC 348 with \it HST (0.8, 0.9 \micron), the MMT (1.2, 1.6, 2.2 \micron), and the \it Spitzer Space Telescope (3.6, 4.5, 5.8, 8.0 \micron) and have used these data to identify possible substellar cluster members down to ~5 M_\rm Jup. I propose to use low-resolution IR spectroscopy with NIRI on Gemini North to confirm membership and measure spectral types for these candidate brown dwarfs.


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