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.
New research suggests our galaxy contains as many as 100 billion brown dwarfs—a type of celestial object that didn’t have quite what it takes to become a full-fledged star. The finding shows just how ubiquitous brown dwarfs really are, and how many false starts are involved in the formation of new stars.
A pair of new studies claim to have discovered two of the most distant objects ever seen in the outer reaches of the Solar System, including a “Super Earth” located six times further away than Pluto. It’s an extraordinary claim — and it’s also highly unlikely.
Located nearly 500 light-years away, ROXs 42Bb is a newly discovered object that astronomers are struggling to define — a unique celestial body that's challenging conventional notions about how planets and stars form.
The scene seems like a storm over a sea of lava somewhere in Mordor, but you are looking at the surface of a failed star—the weather on a brown dwarf based on new data from the Spitzer Space Telescope. It's spectacular. Even more so when you think that's not water falling from the sky.