September 19, 2021

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Observations of the strange brown dwarf produced something special

Observations of the strange brown dwarf produced something special

Dwarves are one of the most interesting astronomical objects. It is placed between gas giants and stars. NASA has conducted research indicating that there may be more such objects in the galaxy than previously thought. The study concerned an object called WISEA J153429.75-104303.3, which has been dubbed the “accident”. Scientists want to know how this brown dwarf formed.

Brown dwarfs are interesting things that lack mass to start nuclear fusion. As the name suggests, an object called Accident was discovered by chance after missing out on normal search methods. It is unlike 2,000 other brown dwarfs discovered so far.

Brown dwarfs age, cool, and vary in brightness with different wavelengths of light, NASA says. The accident was discovered by the WISE space probe, which was launched in 2009. Most of the energy emitted by the brown dwarf comes from infrared waves invisible to the human eye. Scientists wanted to find out why this object had seemingly contradictory properties – so they aimed for this with ground-based telescopes in Hawaii.

Scientists tried to find out why the accident was so blurry, and whether it was further from Earth than expected. Distance measurements revealed that it is located about 50 light-years away from us and is moving very quickly, at a speed of about 800,000 km / h. This is much faster than other brown dwarfs known to exist at a similar distance from Earth. This finding indicates that it is very old and likely accelerated by gravity when encountering massive objects such as black holes.

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In the end, NASA scientists determined that the characteristics of the accident were likely due to its age. They now believe that the object’s strange light profile matches very old brown dwarfs that formed when the galaxy was carbon-poor, meaning that there is currently little methane in its atmosphere.