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Tiny brown dwarf found floating free in space

Old 10-12-2011, 08:13 AM
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Default Tiny brown dwarf found floating free in space

Astronomers have found a 'failed star', or brown dwarf, only six times the size of Jupiter, along with two dozen others that float free in space.

One cluster contains a surprising number of them - half as many as normal stars.

"Our findings suggest once again that objects not much bigger than Jupiter could form the same way as stars do," says professor Ray Jayawardhana of the University of Toronto.

"In other words, nature appears to have more than one trick up its sleeve for producing planetary mass objects."

Brown dwarfs are somewhere in between between stars and planets. They glow brightly when young, from the heat of formation, but gradually cool down to end up with planet-like atmospheres.

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