Latest Brown dwarf Stories

2011-02-24 10:13:59

Astronomers may have found the first object clearing its path in the natal disc surrounding a young star Using ESO's Very Large Telescope an international team of astronomers has been able to study the short-lived disc of material around a young star that is in the early stages of making a planetary system. For the first time a smaller companion could be detected that may be the cause of the large gap found in the disc. Future observations will determine whether this companion is a planet or...

2011-02-21 07:09:47

Background In November 2010, the scientific journal Icarus published a paper by astrophysicists John Matese and Daniel Whitmire, who proposed the existence of a binary companion to our sun, larger than Jupiter, in the long-hypothesized "Oort cloud" -- a faraway repository of small icy bodies at the edge of our solar system. The researchers use the name "Tyche" for the hypothetical planet. Their paper argues that evidence for the planet would have been recorded by the Wide-field Infrared...

2011-01-10 13:30:00

A deep survey of more than 200,000 stars in our Milky Way galaxy has unveiled the sometimes petulant behavior of tiny red dwarf stars. These stars, which are smaller than the Sun, can unleash powerful eruptions called flares that may release the energy of more than 100 million atomic bombs. Red dwarfs are the most abundant stars in our universe and are presumably hosts to numerous planets. However, their erratic behavior could make life unpleasant, if not impossible, for many alien worlds....

2010-11-10 06:40:00

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has eyed its first cool brown dwarf: a tiny, ultra-cold star floating all alone in space. WISE is scanning the whole sky in infrared light, picking up the glow of not just brown dwarfs but also asteroids, stars and galaxies. It has sent millions of images down to Earth, in which infrared light of different wavelengths is color-coded in the images. "The brown dwarfs jump out at you like big, fat, green emeralds," said Amy Mainzer, the deputy...

2010-10-05 07:35:00

 Although WISE has 'warmed up,' NASA has decided the mission will still continue. WISE will now focus on our nearest neighbors -- the asteroids and comets traveling together with our solar system's planets around the sun. "Two of our four infrared detectors still work even at warmer temperatures, so we can use those bands to continue our hunt for asteroids and comets," said Amy Mainzer of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Mainzer is the principal investigator of the...

2010-07-30 07:08:45

The discovery is expected to shed light on the early stages of solar system formation. Astronomers have imaged a very young brown dwarf, or failed star, in a tight orbit around a young nearby sun-like star. An international team led by University of Hawaii astronomers Beth Biller and Michael Liu with help from University of Arizona astronomer Laird Close and UA graduate students Eric Nielsen, Jared Males and Andy Skemer made the rare find using the Near-Infrared Coronagraphic Imager, or NICI,...

2010-07-21 06:50:00

Using a combination of instruments on ESO's Very Large Telescope, a UK-led international team of astronomers have discovered the most massive stars to date, one which at birth had more than 300 times the mass of the Sun, twice as much as the currently accepted limit. The existence of these monsters "” millions of times more luminous than the Sun, losing mass through very powerful winds "” may provide an answer to the question "how massive can stars be?" The new results appear in a...

2010-04-21 12:25:00

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has discovered something odd about a distant planet -- it lacks methane, an ingredient common to many of the planets in our solar system. "It's a big puzzle," said Kevin Stevenson, a planetary sciences graduate student at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, lead author of a study appearing tomorrow, April 22 in the journal Nature. "Models tell us that the carbon in this planet should be in the form of methane. Theorists are going...

2010-01-29 11:00:00

An international team, led by astronomers at the University of Hertfordshire have discovered what may be the coolest sub-stellar body ever found outside our own solar system. Using the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) in Hawaii, a discovery has been made of an object which is technically known as a brown dwarf. The team's findings have been accepted for publication in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. What has excited astronomers are its very peculiar...

2009-12-22 09:45:00

Two brown dwarf-sized objects orbiting a giant old star show that planets may assemble around stars more quickly and efficiently than anyone thought possible, according to an international team of astronomers. "We have found two brown dwarf-sized masses around an ordinary star, which is very rare," said Alex Wolszczan, Evan Pugh professor of astronomy and astrophysics, Penn State and lead scientist on the project. The star, BD +20 2457, is a K2 giant -- an old bloated star nearing the end of...

Word of the Day
  • A blustering, bullying fellow; a pot-valiant braggart; a bully.
This word is named for Draw-Can-Sir, a character in George Villiers' 17th century play The Rehearsal.