PI: Karl Haisch Jr., Utah Valley University, Karl.Haisch@uvu.edu
Address: Physics Department, 800 W. University Pkwy., Orem, Utah 84058, USA
CoI: Mary Barsony, SETI Institute
CoI: Ken Marsh, Cardiff University
CoI: Ron Probst, NOAO
Title: NEWFIRM Imaging of IC348 and NGC 1333: The IMF Across the Brown Dwarf/Planetary Mass Boundary
Abstract: Are there more free-floating planetary mass objects than stars in the Galaxy? To answer this question, we have perfected a novel method to identify such objects when they are at their brightest and youngest, in the nearest star-forming regions to Earth. Using this method, we have discovered nearly ~ 1000 new candidate substellar objects in the nearby well-studied Rho Oph cloud core, missed by other investigators. We have verified the accuracy of our method in identifying members at the heart of the IC 348 cluster against its spectroscopically identified members, with excellent results, where we find an order of magnitude more substellar candidates than previously known. Here, we request KP- 4m time with NEWFIRM to survey the entirety of both the IC 348 and NGC 1333 star-forming regions, in each of which we anticipate discovering ~ 1000 new candidate substellar and planetary mass objects, where, so far, only ~ 40-50 are known.
National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360