Rare Brown Dwarf Discovered --35 Times Size of Jupiter
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May 10, 2012

Rare Brown Dwarf Discovered --35 Times Size of Jupiter

 

            Ultracoolcom


An international team of astronomers led by David Pinfield of the University of Hertfordshire has found a brown dwarf 35 times the size of Jupiter that is more than 99% hydrogen and helium. Described as ultra-cool, it has a temperature of just 400 degrees Celsius and its discovery could be a key step forward in helping astronomers distinguish between brown dwarfs and giant planets. The newly discovered object, known as BD+01 2920B, orbits its host star at a distance of 390 billion kilometers or about 2600 times the average distance from the Earth to the Sun.

Brown dwarfs are star-like objects with insufficient mass to ignite hydrogen fusion in their cores. Over time they cool to temperatures of just a few hundred degrees. Formed like stars from the collapse of a giant molecular cloud a few hundred light years across, brown dwarfs in binary systems such as this have the same atmospheric chemistry as their host star.

In contrast, giant planets form with a more diverse chemistry. Those in our own solar system first formed as large solid cores, which then accreted gas from the disk around them. This led to a different chemistry in their outer layers. For example, when the Galileo spacecraft entered Jupiter's atmosphere in 1995, it found the proportion of heavier elements (astronomers call these 'metals') to be three times higher than in the Sun. 

Such differences allow astronomers to discriminate between planets and brown dwarfs and reveal their formation mechanisms.

Dr Pinfield and his team detected the brown dwarf using data from the Wide-field Infrared Explorer (WISE) satellite, the UK Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) in Hawaii and the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) in Chile. He carried out this work as part of his European (FP7) Initial Training Network RoPACS which studies planets around cool stars.

Searches for planets around other stars find many possible planets through the gravitational pull of the candidate objects on the stars they orbit as well as direct imaging using the latest (and future) optical technology on the largest telescopes. The problem is that compact brown dwarfs share many characteristics with giant planets, so astronomers struggle to confirm the nature of what they detect.

The new work has been made possible by combining data from ground- and space-based surveys, says Dr Pinfield. "Surveys from telescopes like VISTA and UKIRT and orbiting observatories like WISE are giving us an unprecedented view of 'ultra-cool' bodies in our neighborhood."

'By finding these rare objects in orbit around nearby stars, we get a handle on the bigger picture; that we live in a galaxy where both giant planets and brown dwarfs are commonplace."

The image at top of the page is an artist's impression shows BD+01 2920B in the foreground (on the right hand side), with its host star in the background. The colour and banded atmosphere of the brown dwarf result from atmospheric gases and turbulence.

The Daily Galaxy via Royal Astronomical Society

Image credit: J. Pinfield, for the RoPACS network at the University of Hertfordshire

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Comments

Is it possible or probable that our Star has a Brown Dwarf orbiting out 200 billion miles or closer? How long does it take for BD+01 2920B to orbit it's host star?

Could this be NIBIRU??????


:-)

BD+01 2920B is a bit boring for a name, eh? Its new name shall be "Zongzoid". Thats it, no changing it. I called it first.

Ok steve you win...Zongzoid it is. But I get to name the next one.

Hey- that's only 1/23 of a light-year. The closest star suppose to be alpha-centura.

At the risk of seeming particularly thick, I must ask..Is Zongzoid 35 times the diameter of Jupiter or 35 times the mass?

@por-stair.. you sir, are an idiot.

After googling the name for a few days the results are this.

Every single post I could find is a carbon copy (or very close to) of this post.

"Zongzoid" will be its official name. No other post suggested a different name so it wins by default.

por-stair
The distance given if from the star that it is revolving around. This star is not the sun. I was looking for the distance from us but not 1 post gave it and I didnt find it in non bulletin board type pages either.

Ruth
Its pretty much an assumption but I think its diameter. 99% hydrogen and helium is why I think this and I dont know why this even registers in my mind. Maybe because they are the lightest 2 elements.


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