What’s going on?
Elegast is a brown dwarf, a planetary object that is too cold and small to become a star.
The technology paves the way for scientists to discover more planets in the near future.
- “This work opens a whole new method to finding the coldest objects floating in the sun’s vicinity, which would otherwise be too faint to discover with the methods used for the past 25 years,” the study’s co-author, Michael Liu, said in a statement.
How researchers found it
Brown stars are often considered “failed stars” due to the fact that they’re somewhere between a large planet and a small star, according to the study. They lack the mass to create hydrogen fusion in their core. So they glow in infrared wavelengths from the heat created at their formation.
Brown dwarfs emit radio wavelengths, too. Jupiter is another planet that does this even though it’s not a brown dwarf star, according to the study.
- “We asked ourselves, ‘Why point our radio telescope at catalogued brown dwarfs?’” said Harish Vedantham, lead author of the study and astronomer at ASTRON in the Netherlands. “Let’s just make a large image of the sky and discover these objects directly in the radio.”