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Beyond Earthly Skies

Birth of a Brown Dwarf

9 Jan 2014, 14:41 UTC
Birth of a Brown Dwarf
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Brown dwarfs are sub-stellar objects that are not massive enough to fuse hydrogen in their interiors and shine as full-fledged stars. Nevertheless, brown dwarfs are thought to form in the same way as stars do - from collapsing clouds of gas and dust. A study by Lee et al. (2013) of an isolated dense molecular cloud core, L328, shows that it contains three sub-cores. One of which, identified as L328-IRS, is a Very Low Luminosity Object (VeLLO) that is believed to be in the process of collapsing to form a brown dwarf.Artist’s impression of a young brown dwarf that is in the process of accreting matter. A pair of bipolar jets can be seen stemming from it. Credit: ESO.Observations of carbon monoxide as a tracer for the motion of matter reveal a bipolar outflow stemming from L328-IRS. By analysing the outflow, the accretion rate of the proto-brown dwarf is found to be an order of magnitude less than the accretion rate for standard star formation, consistant with the formation of a brown dwarf. Based on the accretion rate, L328-IRS is expected to grow to no more than ~0.05 solar mass. However, the accretion rate may be uncertain due to several ...

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