Are they stars? Are they lost planets? Brown dwarfs, the galaxy’s dark, wandering orbs, are some of space’s most perplexing features. They’re larger than Jupiter but smaller than stars, glow on their own and, well, they’re just really strange. A new analysis seems to explain at least a few of their mysteries.
Brown dwarfs are not quite stars. Some aspects of them resemble planets, like the fact that they have their own versions of “northern lights,” which can be seen from very far away. One of these distant auroras has been captured in the video above
What are planetary atmospheres made of? Figuring out the answer to that question is a big step on the road to learning about habitability, assuming that life tends to flourish in atmospheres like our own.
Brown dwarfs are not quite stars and not quite planets. They are much larger than gas giant planets but fall just short of being large enough to trigger hydrogen fusion. Thus the name "brown dwarf," because they are dark bodies, not generating enough energy to glow like a star.
Scientists using the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii have discovered a "super-Jupiter" orbiting around the bright star Kappa Andromedae. The planet, which is about 13 times the size of Jupiter, glows with a reddish color and skirts the line between planet and star on account of its tremendous mass. Moreover, its parent…
Imagine a hot summer day in the middle of the desert. That temperature might be dangerously hot here on Earth, but it's almost impossibly cold for any star. But that's the rather pathetic situation for a newly discovered brown dwarf.
Too large to be considered planets, but too small to spark the internal nuclear reactions necessary to become full-blown stars, brown dwarfs — aka "failed stars" — are of particular interest to astronomers because of what they can teach us about planetary and star formation.
A brown dwarf located 47 light-years away is behaving very strangely. The would-be star's brightness is constantly changing, fluctuating by as much as 30% in just eight hours. This could be an atmospheric disturbance that dwarfs Jupiter's Great Red Spot.
Last year, NASA announced that it had discovered 14 of the coldest stars it had ever recorded. The so-called "brown dwarfs" were, at that time, listed among the coldest known stars in our universe.
75 light-years away there's a star called CFBDSIR 1458 10b. I would call it Star Latte. See, Star Latte here is a brown dwarf star so cold that you can actually drink it.
Just 63 light-years away, there's a failed star known as a brown dwarf barely any bigger than Jupiter. It's temperature is way less than 100 degrees Celsius, which blurs the line even more between the smallest stars and biggest planets.
Brown dwarfs are objects that weren't quite massive enough to become stars. Stuck somewhere between lame stars and weird planets, brown dwarfs lead a solitary existence...and this newly-discovered brown dwarf could be the saddest of them all.
This bizarre object, found about 450 light years away in the constellation Taurus, is slightly too awesome to be a planet but slightly too cool to be a star. What is it?