NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2003B-0063

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Proposal Information for 2003B-0063


PI: Kevin Luhman, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, kluhman@cfa.harvard.edu
Address: 60 Garden Street, Mail Stop 65, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

CoI: Giovanni Fazio, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

Title: Searching for the Bottom of the Initial Mass Function

Abstract: The minimum mass of the Initial Mass Function (IMF) should be a direct reflection of the physical processes that dominate in the formation of stars and brown dwarfs. To date, the IMF has been measured down to ~10 M_\rm Jup in star forming clusters; there is no sign of a low-mass cutoff in these data. We propose to use NIRI on Gemini North to obtain deep JHK_s images (H=21.5) of the IC 348 cluster (3 Myr, 300 pc). By combining these data with very deep photometry from HST and SIRTF (0.8, 0.9, 3.6, 4.5, 5.8, 8.0 \micron), we will measure the mass function of brown dwarfs down to ~1 M_\rm Jup and thus determine the lowest mass at which objects can form in isolation in a typical star forming cluster.


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