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
Curious where the super stars live? Head in the direction of the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud and keep going for 170,000 light-years. There you’ll find dozens of stars that are 50 times bigger than the sun and nine monster stars 100 times more massive than the sun. Continue reading Hubble Finds Where the Super Stars Live
It is well known that as a massive cloud of gas collapses under its own gravity, baby stars may form. The intense gravitational collapse kicks off fusion processes that begin the coalescence of more matter that feeds into a newborn star. Though the general process is fairly well understood, the details are not. Continue reading Baby Star’s ‘Placenta’ Precisely Measured for the First Time
For decades, astronomers have wondered if Eta Carinae, a massive binary star that shines 5 million times brighter than the sun, was unique, as nothing like it had been found in the Milky Way galaxy, or beyond.
But scientists now know that Eta Carinae, located about 7,500 light years from Earth, is not alone. A study using archived Hubble and Spitzer space telescope imagery found five Eta Carinae “twins” in nearby galaxies, astronomers said at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Kissimmee, Fla., on Wednesday. Continue reading Mega-Star Eta Carinae Isn’t a Cosmic Loner