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Brown dwarfs in the Pleiades cluster: clues to the substellar mass function

By SpaceRef Editor
December 31, 2002
Filed under , ,

Astrophysics, abstract

From: Estelle Moraux <>
Date: Mon, 30 Dec 2002 15:47:09 GMT (499kb)

Brown dwarfs in the Pleiades cluster: clues to the substellar mass function

E. Moraux (1),
J. Bouvier (1),
J.R. Stauffer (2),
J-C. Cuillandre (3) ((1) LAOG, Grenoble, France, (2) CalTech, Pasadena, (3) CFHT, Hawaii)

Comments: 13 pages, 9 pages, accepted in A&A

We present the results of a 6.4 square degrees imaging survey of the Pleiades
cluster in the I and Z-bands. The survey extends up to 3 degrees from the
cluster center and is 90% complete down to I~22. It covers a mass range from
0.03 Msun to 0.48 Msun and yields 40 brown dwarf candidates (BDCs) of which 29
are new. The spatial distribution of BDCs is fitted by a King profile in order
to estimate the cluster substellar core radius. The Pleiades mass function is
then derived accross the stellar-substellar boundary and we find that, between
0.03 Msun and 0.48 Msun, it is well represented by a single power-law, dN/dM
propto M^{-alpha}, with an index alpha=0.60 +/- 0.11. Over a larger mass
domain, however, from 0.03 Msun to 10 Msun, the mass function is better fitted
by a log-normal function. We estimate that brown dwarfs represent about 25% of
the cluster population which nevertheless makes up less than 1.5% of the
cluster mass. The early dynamical evolution of the cluster appears to have had
little effect on its present mass distribution at an age of 120 Myr. Comparison
between the Pleiades mass function and the Galactic field mass function
suggests that apparent differences may be mostly due to unresolved binary

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