A Review on Substellar Objects below the Deuterium Burning Mass Limit: Planets, Brown Dwarfs or What?

Caballero, J. A. 2018. A Review on Substellar Objects below the Deuterium Burning Mass Limit: Planets, Brown Dwarfs or What?. Geosciences 8, 10, DOI: 10.3390/geosciences8100362

Free-floating, non-deuterium-burning, substellar objects are isolated bodies of a few Jupiter masses found in very young open clusters and associations, nearby young moving groups, and in the immediate vicinity of the Sun. They are neither brown dwarfs nor planets. In this paper, their nomenclature, history of discovery, sites of detection, formation mechanisms, and future directions of research are reviewed. Most free-floating, non-deuterium-burning, substellar objects share the same formation mechanism as low-mass stars and brown dwarfs, but there are still a few caveats, such as the value of the opacity mass limit, the minimum mass at which an isolated body can form via turbulent fragmentation from a cloud. The least massive free-floating substellar objects found to date have masses of about 0.004 M-sol, but current and future surveys should aim at breaking this record. For that, we may need LSST, Euclid and WFIRST.

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