Ultra-Cool Brown Dwarf Helps Reveal Giant Planets

Ultra-Cool Brown Dwarf Helps Reveal Giant Planets

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An international team of astronomers has found a brown dwarf 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 researchers publish their work in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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.

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