Searching for the Bottom of the Initial Mass Function
Thursday, 16 June 2016 8 a.m. — 9 a.m. MST
AURA Lecture Hall
The measurement of the substellar initial mass function (IMF) and its minimum mass and their dependence on environment would provide a fundamental test of theories of star formation. To provide better constraints on these properties of the IMF, we have performed a search for the least-massive members of nearby star-forming clusters and associations (150-300 pc, <10 Myr). To identify candidate brown dwarfs in these regions, we have measured proper motions for sources detected in multi-epoch images from the Spitzer Space Telescope. To enable these measurements and more fully realize IRAC's astrometric capabilities, we measured new distortion corrections for IRAC (0.004" systematic error; Esplin & Luhman 2016) and created a pipeline that extracts astrometric positions with errors of 0.02". The resulting proper motion samples of candidate brown dwarfs were then further refined using their color-magnitude diagrams constructed from deep optical and near-IR images. Through spectroscopic observations, we have confirmed many new members of the regions we studied including the least-massive members in several regions (~5 Jupiter masses).