The results of recent observations by an international team of astronomers suggest that brown dwarfs share a common origin with stars. Brown dwarfs are more similar in nature to stars than to planets and, like stars, have the potential to form with accompanying systems of planets. The observation by the researchers of dusty protoplanetary disks around the faintest objects in the Orion Nebula cluster confirms both the membership of these faint stars in the cluster and their nature as bona fide substellar objects, making this the largest population of brown dwarf objects yet known. The research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation.