Astronomers discover coolest objects outside solar system

Jan 26, 2011

UK's University of Hertfordshire astronomers have measured the distances to 11 of the coolest objects ever discovered outside our solar system. The 11 cool objects – known as brown dwarfs – have masses intermediate between stars (more massive) and planets (less massive), and as a result do not burn hydrogen, making them extremely cool.

The work led by Federico Marocco, an astrophysicist in UH’s Centre for Astrophysics Research was carried out as part of a collaboration between UH, the astronomical Observatory of Torino and a wider international group.

call very cool brown dwarfs like the ones discovered ‘T dwarfs’ and Federico and his team have discovered many of the coolest known examples ever found.

Federico Marocco said: “A proper understanding of such cool atmospheres is important for interpreting warm giant planets as well as brown dwarfs, since planet temperatures can overlap with those of ”.

The team made deep infrared measurements of each T dwarf with the UK Infrared telescope over a 4 year period and this allowed them to determine the distances of each dwarf. It was revealed the dwarfs were between 30 and 300 light years from the Sun. The new distance measurements show that our understanding of cool atmospheres is incomplete, and establishes benchmark measurements that future theories will be tested against.

“It may be that our ’s nearest neighbor is an undiscovered brown dwarf, just waiting to be revealed” said Marocco.

The new discoveries have been published in a paper in the academic journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Explore further: Mystery of rare five-hour space explosion explained

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Astronomers discover cool stars in nearby space

Jan 29, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- 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 ...

T-dwarf stars finally reveal their mysterious secrets

Nov 23, 2010

Astronomers have recently discovered an exotic star system which has shed some light on the mass and age of one of the systems rare stellar components. Using data from World’s largest optical telescope, ...

Cool star is a gem of a find

Nov 10, 2010

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.

White dwarf and ultra-cool dwarf keep their distance

Apr 18, 2007

Scientists from the University of Hertfordshire have discovered a rare binary system consisting of a white dwarf, a Sun-like star that has reached the end of its life, and an ultra-cool dwarf, which is the smallest kind of ...

The Coolest Stars Come Out of the Dark

Jun 24, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Astronomers have uncovered what appear to be 14 of the coldest stars known in our universe. These failed stars, called brown dwarfs, are so cold and faint that they'd be impossible to see ...

Tiny Brown Dwarf's Disk May Form Miniature Solar System

Feb 09, 2005

Using the Spitzer Space Telescope, a team of astronomers led by Kevin Luhman (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) has discovered a protoplanetary disk around a surprisingly low-mass brown dwarf. This remarkable finding ...

Recommended for you

Mystery of rare five-hour space explosion explained

1 hour ago

Next week in St. Petersburg, Russia, scientists on an international team that includes Penn State University astronomers will present a paper that provides a simple explanation for mysterious ultra-long gamma-ray ...

Glowing galaxies in telescopic timelapse

1 hour ago

We often speak of the discoveries and data flowing from astronomical observatories, which makes it easy to forget the cool factor. Think of it—huge telescopes are probing the universe under crystal-clear ...

Violent origins of disc galaxies probed by ALMA

7 hours ago

For decades scientists have believed that galaxy mergers usually result in the formation of elliptical galaxies. Now, for the the first time, researchers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

barakn
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 26, 2011
Lame article mentions the coolest extra-solar objects ever found but doesn't note their temperatures.
Quantum_Conundrum
2 / 5 (3) Jan 26, 2011
Lame article mentions the coolest extra-solar objects ever found but doesn't note their temperatures.


Yeah, the quality of some of the articles on here the past few months has been worthless.
lairdwilcox
1 / 5 (1) Jan 28, 2011
I suspect there are far, far more of these than anyone suspects -- not only brown dwarfs but jupiter sized objects not necessarily orbiting any star on down to small astroid-like objects -- and that these may account for much, if not all, of the missing mass of the universe.