Photo-erosion is the dispersion of the outer layers of a prestellar core by the ionizing radiation of a nearby star.

This erosion prevents the accretion of these outer layers around the protostar at the centre of the core; and this, in turn, prevents the protostar from becoming a fully-fledged star. The protostar instead becomes a brown dwarf or planetary-mass object.[1]


  1. The formation of free-floating brown dwarves and planetary-mass objects by photo-erosion of prestellar cores, A. P. Whitworth, H. Zinnecker, Astronomy & Astrophysics, Volume 427, Number 1, November III 2004, Page(s) 299 - 306, Template:Doi