The Bottom of the Main Sequence and Beyond: Speculations, Calculations, Observations, and Discoveries (1958--2002)
In this paper, I briefly review the theoretical and observational work done since 1958 on the gaseous objects with mass below the H-burning limit. Special attention is paid to the theory that I developed during the period 1958-1962 for the hydrogen-rich gaseous objects with mass below the minimum main sequence mass of ∼0.08 M⊙. The three main predictions of this theory (Kumar 1962a; Kumar 1962b; Kumar 1963a; Kumar 1963b) are discussed. Fragmentation processes for interstellar clouds are discussed, and it is pointed out that the minimum mass of a gaseous fragment may be as low as 0.001 M⊙. Observational results obtained since 1995 on the luminous and dark objects of very low mass are briefly reviewed. Comments are made on the basic nature of the stars and planets, and it is pointed out that the processes of star formation are fundamentally different from those of planet formation. Arguments are presented to show that some of the very-low-mass dark companions, discovered since 1995, were most probably formed by the star formation processes and not by the planet formation processes.
- Pub Date:
- June 2003
- 9 pages, invited review paper presented at IAU211 Symposium at Waikoloa, Hawaii (May 2002), to appear in the proceedings