Cool as a Stellar Cucumber
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Cool as a Stellar Cucumber

March 3, 2011
This image shows what astronomers think is one of the coldest brown dwarfs discovered so far (red dot in middle of frame). The object, called SDWFS J143524.44+335334.6, is one of 14 such brown dwarfs found by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope using infrared light. Follow-up observations are required to nail down this "failed" star's temperature, but rough estimates put this particular object at about 700 Kelvin (800 degrees Fahrenheit).

In this image, infrared light with a wavelength of 3.6 microns is color-coded blue; 4.5-micron light is red. The brown dwarf shows up prominently in red because methane is absorbing the 3.6-micron, or blue-coded, light.

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