Brown Dwarfs

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Science  26 Oct 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5543, pp. 801-802
DOI: 10.1126/science.1066316

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Since the discovery of brown dwarfs in 1995, hundreds have been detected in different astronomic environments. In his Perspective, Gizis reviews the current knowledge about these "failed stars," which are too light to sustain nuclear fusion. It is intriguing that the lightest brown dwarfs may be lighter than the heaviest planets. Gizis argues that the two classes of objects should nevertheless have different statistical properties, which should allow them to be distinguished.