EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 400, Number 3, March IV 2003
Page(s) 1031 - 1042
Section Stellar atmospheres
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20030073
Published online 07 March 2003

A&A 400, 1031-1042 (2003)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20030073

Imprints of dynamical interactions on brown dwarf pairing statistics and kinematics

M. F. Sterzik1 and R. H. Durisen2

1  European Southern Observatory, Casilla 19001, Santiago 19, Chile
2  Department of Astronomy, SW319, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47405, USA

(Received 6 December 2002 / Accepted 15 January 2003 )

We present statistically robust predictions of brown dwarf properties arising from dynamical interactions during their early evolution in small clusters. Our conclusions are based on numerical calculations of the internal cluster dynamics as well as on Monte-Carlo models. Accounting for recent observational constraints on the sub-stellar mass function and initial properties in fragmenting star forming clumps, we derive multiplicity fractions, mass ratios, separation distributions, and velocity dispersions. We compare them with observations of brown dwarfs in the field and in young clusters. Observed brown dwarf companion fractions around $15 \pm 7\%$ for very low-mass stars as reported recently by Close et al. (2003) are consistent with certain dynamical decay models. A significantly smaller mean separation distribution for brown dwarf binaries than for binaries of late-type stars can be explained by similar specific energy at the time of cluster formation for all cluster masses. Due to their higher velocity dispersions, brown-dwarfs and low-mass single stars will undergo time-dependent spatial segregation from higher-mass stars and multiple systems. This will cause mass functions and binary statistics in star forming regions to vary with the age of the region and the volume sampled.

Key words: stars: binaries: general -- stars: binaries: visual -- stars: formation -- stars: low-mass, brown dwarfs

Offprint request: M. Sterzik, msterzik@eso.org

© ESO 2003

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