Abstract by John Eberhard
Physics and Astronomy
Statistical Spectral Fitting of Brown Dwarf Binary Candidates
Brown dwarfs are celestial bodies with masses that fall in the range between planets and stars. Since their discovery in 1995, many questions about their formation have arisen, particularly regarding the formation of binary systems. To answer fundamental questions regarding the formation of binaries, I looked to discover new binary systems using spectral analysis. Using a computer code in C++, I fit brown dwarf spectral data taken by space telescopes to brown dwarf atmospheric models. I then compared the goodness of fit of the singular versus the binary models and determined the level of confidence at which each system could be identified as being binary. Of 24 systems analyzed, five were determined to be binary systems at the 99% confidence level. The properties of each brown dwarf were also identified, which can help future researchers to better understand how brown dwarfs form and evolve.