A sub-brown dwarf companion photographed

Brown Dwarf Companion Imaged around Sun-like Star

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<img border=”0″ src=”http://www.darkstar1.co.uk/binaryplanetphoto.jpg&#8221; width=”468″ height=”471″>

 

This sub-brown dwarf companion lies a whopping 330 Astronomical Units from the parent Sun-like star.  That takes it into the realm of our own potential Dark Star companion, and creates a very useful precedent.  The system in question is very young, so the sub-brown dwarf (weighing in at 8 Jupiter masses) is still alight with its own limited supply of nuclear fuel.  Within a few million years, it will cease to give out light, and will be too far from the parent star to reflect sufficient light to be seen by us, even with the most powerful telescopes. It is also way to far away to create a ‘wobble’ effect in the parent star.  So, to all intents and purposes, the sub-brown dwarf companion will become invisible. 

But for now, we can see it, and marvel.

I think that the galaxy is full of wide-orbit companions like this. We simply can’t detect them after the bright fires of their youth have become extinguished.  Yet, these brown dwarfs makes for excellent life-supporting systems, expanding the potential for life throughout the galaxy.  Indeed, if one or more of these dark companions lurks between us and the nearest stars, then the potential for life in our back yard is greatly enhanced.

References:

Graham Gurrin “Is this the first picture of an alien planet in orbit around a sun just like ours?”  Daily Mail, 15th September 2008    With thanks to Martin Cosnette

 

 

 

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~ by andylloyd on September 16, 2008.

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