Astronomers discover coolest objects outside solar system

January 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: Astronomers discover cool stars in nearby space

Related Stories

Astronomers discover cool stars in nearby space

January 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 Kingdom Infrared ...

T-dwarf stars finally reveal their mysterious secrets

November 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, the Very Large ...

Cool star is a gem of a find

November 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

April 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

June 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 with current visible-light ...

Tiny Brown Dwarf's Disk May Form Miniature Solar System

February 9, 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

NASA telescope studies quirky comet 45P

November 22, 2017

When comet 45P zipped past Earth early in 2017, researchers observing from NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility, or IRTF, in Hawai'i gave the long-time trekker a thorough astronomical checkup. The results help fill in crucial ...

Uncovering the origins of galaxies' halos

November 21, 2017

Using the Subaru Telescope atop Maunakea, researchers have identified 11 dwarf galaxies and two star-containing halos in the outer region of a large spiral galaxy 25 million light-years away from Earth. The findings, published ...

Cassini image mosaic: A farewell to Saturn

November 21, 2017

In a fitting farewell to the planet that had been its home for over 13 years, the Cassini spacecraft took one last, lingering look at Saturn and its splendid rings during the final leg of its journey and snapped a series ...

3 comments

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.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.