Apparently Even the Smallest Stars Get Their Own Planets

A Planetary System in the Make?Credit: ESO

A Planetary System in the Make?
Credit: ESO

Source: European Southern Observatory

Astronomers using the European Southern Observatory’s  ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) have announced the discovery of  a disc of millimeter sized material encircling a brown dwarf star. Of insufficient mass to generate hydrogen fusion like main sequence stars such as our own sun, brown dwarfs, classified as sub-stellar objects, occupy an unusual position in between the largest plants and the smallest true stars. Though previously considered too small to host the formation of rocky planets,  the discovery has led to the surprising conclusion that brown dwarf stars may indeed be capable of fostering the formation of planetary systems resembling our own inner solar system, adding to a growing realization that the universe is both more interesting, and more diverse than once imagined.

The full press release may be found here.

Posted in: Space Science

About the Author:

Post a Comment