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Have We Found The Two Coolest Brown Dwarfs?

By / 03.15.11

Here, a lesser blog would make a black midget joke, but we’re above that. Largely because we’re pretty sure Gary Coleman wasn’t a midget, and anyway, he’s dead.

Besides, we’re talking about stars here. Brown dwarfs are essentially stars that never applied themselves, so they never shown as brightly as their friends, preferring to sit in the universe’s basement and drink cheap beer instead of starting up fusion reactions. They’re notable for being extremely cool for a star, as in possessed of a low temperature, not seeming awesome to fifteen-year-old girls.

And recently, we found the two coolest. One, CFBDSIR J1458+1013B, is actually colder than that crappy sauna in your gym, well below the boiling point of water. The other, WD 0806-661B, is even more interesting, because it’s the temperature of a summer’s day: 86F.

WD 0806-661B is somewhat controversial because they’re not sure whether it’s a dwarf star or a planet. The orbit is pretty distant for a planet, but at the same time…we regularly eat food warmer than this thing. What’s particularly interesting is 86F is cool enough for water vapor to form, so this could be a star with an atmosphere.

Just no motivation to better itself.

[ via the Red Dwarf fans at io9 ]


TAGSastronomybrown dwarfscold star

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