NASA publishes a picture of the mysterious and rare “accident” 50...

NASA has shared footage of an “extremely rare” brown dwarf that may be up to 13 billion years old, dubbed “The Accident” after it was discovered by chance.

A brown dwarf is a mysterious object that lies somewhere between a gas giant planet and a small star, but below the size that fuses hydrogen like a star.

NASA publishes a picture

NASA publishes a picture

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Dan Caselden

WISE 1534-1043

According to a study by astronomers at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, there may be more of these unusual “stars” in our galaxy than previously thought.

NASA researchers said that the brown dwarf, officially named WISE 1534-1043, is 50 light-years from Earth and is unlike any of the 2,000 brown dwarfs found in our galaxy so far.

Dim in some wavelengths of light, bright in others, it moves around the Milky Way at half a million miles per hour, faster than any other local brown dwarf.

NASA publishes a picture

NASA/JPL-Caltech

The unusual structure and speed of light helped the team determine the dwarf’s age at between 10 and 13 billion years, twice the average age of other known brown dwarfs dating to a time when the Milky Way was very young and had a different chemical makeup.

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Image from Hubble showing

This indicates that it has been present in the Milky Way since the early days, which means there could be more than initially thought, with up to 100 billion brown dwarfs floating in interstellar space.

The brown dwarf was discovered by chance via the Wide Field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) by citizen scientist Dan Caselden, who was using an online program he built to find these objects in the data collected by the telescope.

The “accident” brown dwarf is between 13 and 80 times larger than Jupiter but not large enough to fuse elements like hydrogen into helium the way a star does.

While brown dwarfs sometimes defy characterization, astronomers have a good understanding of their general properties, even the “accident”.

As brown dwarfs age, they cool, and their brightness changes in different wavelengths of light, similar to the way hot metals go from white to red as they cool.

The “accident” confused scientists because it was faint at some key wavelengths, which indicates that it was very cold, but bright in others, which indicates a high temperature.

“This object defied all our expectations,” said Davey Kirkpatrick, an astrophysicist at the Caltech Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC).

He noted that the 10-13 billion year old “accident” means it could have formed when our galaxy was much younger and had a different chemical makeup.

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Could the Earth be swallowed up by dozens of black holes lurking in our galaxies?!

“If this is the case, it is likely that there are more ancient brown dwarfs lurking in the vicinity of the galaxy,” the researcher explained.

To find out why it has contrasting properties, some suggest it’s cold and others warmer, astronomers turned to the Keck Observatory in Hawaii.

They used the telescope to observe the object in a wider range of wavelengths of light, especially infrared, but it was too faint to be detected at all.

This suggestion confirmed that it was very cold, which means that it is also likely to be outdated.

They then set out to determine if the blackout was caused by the accident being further off the ground than expected. But that wasn’t the case, according to accurate distance measurements by NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes.

After determining the object’s distance, about 50 light-years from Earth, the team realized that it was moving quickly, at about half a million miles per hour. This is much faster than all other brown dwarfs known to exist at this distance from Earth, which means that they may have been veering around the galaxy for a long time, encountering massive objects accelerating their gravity.

“It’s no surprise to find a brown dwarf of this age, but it is surprising to find a dwarf in our yard,” said Federico Marocco, an astrophysicist at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC) at Caltech who led the new observations using the Keck and Hubble telescopes. back to us.”

“We expected brown dwarfs to exist at this age, but we also expected them to be incredibly rare. The chance of finding one so close to the solar system might be a lucky coincidence, or tell us it’s more common than we thought.”

“This discovery tells us that there is more diversity in brown dwarf formations than we’ve seen so far,” Kirkpatrick explains. “There’s probably more exotic stuff out there, and we need to think about how to look for it.”

The results were published in full in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Source: Daily Mail

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