Brown Dwarf


BrownDwarfThis animation shows the coldest brown dwarf found to date. It also the fourth closest system to our Sun. WISE J085510.83-071442.5 is a very dim object that was noticed because of its rapid motion across the sky. It first showed up in two infrared images taken six months apart in 2010 by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE (the orange triangles). Two more images of the object were taken with the Spitzer Space Telescope in 2013 and 2014 (green triangles). Because the two satellites are in different orbits, their data could be used to calculate the distance to the brown dwarf: 7.2 light-years. The Spitzer data were used to show that the body appears to be roughly the same temperature as the Earth’s North Pole (-48 to -13 °C).

Image Credit: NASA

Brown Dwarfs


This is the first ultra-cool brown dwarf discovered by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer.A brown dwarf is an object that didn’t quite make it to stardom. It’s sub-stellar without enough mass to sustain hydrogen-1 fusion like a main sequence star. Brown dwarfs fill a niche between large planets and lightweight stars, ranging unto about 75X the mass of Jupiter. Brown dwarfs with mass greater 13X MJ may be able to fuse deuterium, and dwarf’s with mass above 75X MJ may be able to fuse lithium.

WISE 0458+6434 was the first ultra-cool brown dwarf discovered by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. It’s the green dot in the picture above which is from infrared data coded as green and blue depending on wavelength. WISE 0458+6434 is a binary system of two (A and B) ultracool brown dwarfs. The primary (A) has a mass about 15X Jupiter’s and a surface temperature of around 600 K or about 330 C. That’s roughly a tenth of the surface temperature of the Sun. Brown dwarfs have found with surface temperatures as low as -150 C.

Image Credit: NASA

Brown Dwarf


BrownDwarfThis animation shows the coldest brown dwarf found to date. It also the fourth closest system to our Sun. WISE J085510.83-071442.5 is a very dim object that was noticed because of its rapid motion across the sky. It first showed up in two infrared images taken six months apart in 2010 by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE (the orange triangles). Two more images of the object were taken with the Spitzer Space Telescope in 2013 and 2014 (green triangles). Because the two satellites are in different orbits, their data could be used to calculate the distance to the brown dwarf: 7.2 light-years. The Spitzer data were used to show that the body appears to be roughly the same temperature as the Earth’s North Pole (-48 to -13 °C).

Image Credit: NASA

Dwarfs in the Neighborhood


brown_dwarfsWISE J104915.57-531906 is at the center of the larger image, which was taken by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). This is the closest star system discovered since 1916, and the third closest to our sun. It is only 6.5 light-years away.

The original image appeared to be of a single object, but a sharper image from Gemini Observatory in Chile showed that it was from a pair of cool star-like bodies called brown dwarfs.

Image Credit: NASA