Binary System of Two Brown Dwarfs found by SPECULOOS survey

by | Mar 19, 2020 | Stars | 0 comments


An artist’s view of one of the SPECULOOS  telescopes, with the eclipsing binary brown dwarf in the sky. The third red dot is a third nearby brown dwarf, which is also part of the same system. The book on the side shows the data that led to the discovery. On the left page is the eclipse captured by SPECULOOS  while the right page shows the data from Keck Observatory and the VLT.
CREDIT: University of Birmingham/Amanda J. Smith.

In another case of surveys finding the hard to find, a new paper in Nature by Triaud and company identifies a binary system made of two brown dwarf stars in the SPECULOOS survey, which is designed to find potentially habitable planets. While this system isn’t likely to have life, it is nonetheless super cool. Literally… these stars have failed and are just barely glowing through the combination of heat from compressed gas and residual hit from brief burning of heavy hydrogen. This particular system is super interesting because the stars are precisely aligned to eclipse one another, which allows us to measure their size and mass accurately, giving us some of our best data on the nature of these tiny hard to find not-quite-stars. This system got follow up from the 8-m VLT. They found the system also has a 3 brown dwarf companion, making this brown dwarfs all the way down.

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