Two space telescopes’ lucky perspectives have revealed an unusual brown dwarf that seems to be crowding close to a small star.
When a huge cloud of gas is pulled together by gravity, it can collapse down into a ball. Often, it becomes dense enough that the center bursts into nuclear fusion and that ball becomes a star. If it’s not dense enough, but is close, it will instead become a ball of gas called a brown dwarf. Brown dwarfs can have orbiting systems of planets of their own at times, and they can also orbit stars. But for some reason, researchers rarely find a brown dwarf orbiting within three Earth-sun distances of a sun-mass star. Continue reading Telescope Team-Up Holds Cosmic Lens to Rare Brown Dwarf
The historic discovery of a small world orbiting within a neighboring star’s habitable zone is exciting — but don’t pack your bags quite yet. In our profound quest to discover strange new worlds, we’ve inevitably been trying to find alien planets that possess any Earth-like similarities. Now, with the incredible find of an Earth-mass exoplanet orbiting a neighboring star at just the right distance for liquid water to persist on its surface, hopes are high that we may have discovered an “Earth 2.0” right on our galactic doorstep. Continue reading Eyeballing Proxima b: Probably Not a Second Earth
The discovery of a small rocky exoplanet at Proxima Centauri brings the search for life beyond the solar system into our home turf. The star closest to the sun is home to an Earth-sized planet with temperatures suitable for water — if any exists — to pool on its surface, a scenario that is believed to be favorable for life, research published Wednesday shows. Continue reading Confirmed! Sun’s Nearest Neighbor Has ‘Earth-Like’ World
Some stars are just born with extremely magnetic personalities. Take TVLM 513-46546 for example. It’s a small M-class red dwarf, a star that belongs to the most populous stellar group in the galaxy. But TVLM 513-46546 would find it hard blending in with the crowd. Continue reading Violent Tiny Star Is a Magnetic Powerhouse