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Brown Dwarf in a Distant Orbit around an A-Type Star

26 Oct 2014, 22:00 UTC
Brown Dwarf in a Distant Orbit around an A-Type Star
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Brown dwarfs are substellar objects that populate the gap between the most massive planets and the least massive stars. ζ Del B is a newly discovered brown dwarf around the A-type star ζ Del A. Before this discovery, ζ Del A was simply known as ζ Del without the suffix “A”. ζ Del A is a main-sequence star with 2.5 ± 0.2 times the mass of the Sun and about 50 times the Sun’s luminosity. A main-sequence star is basically a star that is currently generating energy by fusing hydrogen into helium and it is neither at the start nor near the end of its life. The Sun is one example of a main-sequence star.Figure 1: Artist’s impression of a brown dwarf.Only a small number of brown dwarfs are known to orbit stars that are significantly more mass and luminous than the Sun. ζ Del B is the latest addition to this short list of brown dwarfs. ζ Del A and its brown dwarf companion, ζ Del B, are both estimated to lie at a distance of roughly 220 light years away. Estimates show that the ζ Del system is 525 ± 125 million years old. Spectroscopic observations of the ...

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