The optical mass-luminosity relation at the end of the main sequence (0.08-0.20 M)

Todd J. Henry, Otto G. Franz, Lawrence H. Wasserman, G. Fritz Benedict, Peter J. Shelus, Philip A. Ianna, J. Davy Kirkpatrick, Donald W. McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


The empirical mass-luminosity relation at Mv is presented for stars with masses 0.08-0.20 M based upon new observations made with Fine Guidance Sensor 3 on the Hubble Space Telescope. The targets are nearby, red dwarf multiple systems in which the magnitude differences are typically measured to ±0.1 mag or better. The Mv values are generated using the best available parallaxes and are also accurate to ±0.1 mag, because the errors in the magnitude differences are the dominant error source. In several cases this is the first time the observed sub-arcsecond multiples have been resolved at optical wavelengths. The mass-luminosity relation defined by these data reaches to Mv = 18.5 and provides a powerful empirical test for discriminating the lowest mass stars from high-mass brown dwarfs at wavelengths shorter than 1 μm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)864-873
Number of pages10
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 PART 1
StatePublished - Feb 20 1999


  • Astrometry
  • Binaries: close
  • Stars: low-mass, brown dwarfs
  • Stars: luminosity function, mass function
  • Stars: statistics
  • Techniques: interferometric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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