AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 6 Brown Dwarf Stars
Poster, Monday, January 5, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Grand Hall

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[6.01] Optical/Near-Infrared Selected Brown Dwarf Candidates in the OMC 2/3 Protostellar Cluster

D. E. Peterson (Univ. of Rochester), S. T. Megeath, K. L. Luhman (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA), J. L. Pipher (Univ. of Rochester), D. Barrado y Navascues (LAEFF-INTA), J. R. Stauffer (SSC, Caltech), L. E. Allen, P. C. Myers (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA)

At a distance of 450 pc, the Orion Molecular Cloud 2 and 3 (OMC 2/3) region is one of the most active sites of ongoing star formation known. Twenty-one protostellar objects have been detected in this region by sub-millimeter surveys (Chini et al. 1997), suggesting that this region may be at the early stages of cluster formation.

We present optical/near-IR observations used to establish the presence of young brown dwarfs in OMC 2/3. Candidate sources were identified using combined optical and near-IR imaging. Follow-up far-red spectra were obtained, confirming 10 candidates with spectral types of M6 or later. We examine the spatial distribution of the brown dwarfs as well as their positions in the HR diagram. In addition, we examine the distribution of more deeply embedded brown dwarf candidates which have not yet been confirmed by spectroscopy.

Of particular interest is whether brown dwarfs can be found near the protostellar objects in OMC 2/3. These may be some of the youngest brown dwarfs known, and studies of these objects could lead to new insight into the formation of brown dwarfs. To search for evidence that brown dwarfs form in a manner similar to the way stars form, we will search for protostellar envelopes, binaries and jets in the vicinity of 7 of the spectroscopically confirmed OMC 2/3 brown dwarfs using NICMOS during Cycle 12 on the Hubble Space Telescope. Additionally, guaranteed time observations of OMC 2/3 are planned with the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) soon after launch to explore the disk component of the young stars and brown dwarfs.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: dawnp@astro.pas.rochester.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.