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Using Transiting Brown Dwarfs to Define the Planetary Mass Limit

Presentation #607.14 in the session Population Statistics and Mass-Radius Relations.

Published onApr 03, 2024
Using Transiting Brown Dwarfs to Define the Planetary Mass Limit

In order to study planet formation in its most massive regime, we must reframe our thinking about planets, brown dwarfs, and stars away from strict partitions in mass in favor of their formation and evolution. Brown dwarfs in particular, which range from 13 - 80 MJ, encompass the region where planet and stellar formation mechanisms likely overlap, allowing us to address the question: how massive can a planet be? The success of TESS has recently granted the ability to investigate this question from a new perspective since it has more than doubled the population of known transiting brown dwarf systems. I will present the discovery and characterization of 11 new transiting companions from TESS (TOI-2844 b, TOI-3122 b, TOI-3577 b, TOI-3755 b, TOI-4462 b, TOI-4635 b, TOI-4737 b, TOI-4759 b, TOI-5240 b, TOI-5467 b, TOI-5613 b, TOI-5882 b). We confirm 8 of these systems as transiting brown dwarfs, and the rest as very low mass stars (< 100 MJ) using ground-based photometric and spectroscopic follow-up through the TESS Follow-up Observing Program (TFOP). The transiting brown dwarf population now exceeds 50 systems, a population large enough to begin performing robust statistical analyses. I will provide a first glimpse into the emerging trends from the transiting brown dwarf population, showing that the transition between planet and stellar formation may not be as clear as previously thought.

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