eso0124 — Science Release
NTT Observations Indicate that Brown Dwarfs Form Like Stars
7 June 2001: An international team of astronomers  is announcing today the discovery of dusty disks surrounding numerous very faint objects that are believed to be recently formed Brown Dwarfs in the Orion Nebula . This finding is based on detailed observations with SOFI, a specialised infrared-sensitive instrument at the ESO 3.5-m New Technology Telescope at the La Silla Observatory. It is of special interest because it sheds light on the origin and nature of substellar objects, known as "Brown Dwarfs". In particular, these results suggest that Brown Dwarfs share a common origin with stars and that Brown Dwarfs are more similar in nature to stars than to planets and, like stars, have the potential to form with accompanying systems of planets. Moreover, the presence of dusty protoplanetary disks around the faintest objects in the Orion Nebula cluster confirms both the membership of these faint stars in the cluster and their nature as bona-fide substellar objects, making this the largest population of Brown Dwarf objects yet known.