Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The invention of brown dwarfs

While going though my e-mails, I came across one from Dr. Shiv Kumar, pointing me to his website on the discovery of brown dwarfs. He was the first to realize -- or calculate -- that electron degeneracy would impose a minimum mass to stellar fusion. Very-low-mass objects, now called brown dwarfs, would become very cool and dim. (If you look at the papers, you'll see the term "brown dwarf" is absent since the phrase was coined many years later.) The papers are quite good, I was reading them again a few weeks ago as I have been building up my library of PDFs.

Years ago I also got an e-mail promoting the early contributions of a Japanese astronomer, but that will be another post.

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