RedOrbit News reports that astronomers have discovered a minature solar system orbiting a distance brown dwarf using NASA’s state of the art Spitzner Space Telescope. The Brown Dwarf, a mere 8 times as massive as Jupiter is one of the smallest brown dwarfs ever detected. In addition, this brown dwarf is the smallest known to harbor a rocky planet forming disk of dust and debris.
Astonishingly, this brown Dwarf, located about 500 light-years away from Earth in the southern constellation Chamaeleon is very young. Its approximated age is only about 2 million years, making it an infant in terms of stellar bodies.
“Brown dwarfs are born like stars, condensing out of thick clouds of gas and dust. But unlike stars, brown dwarfs do not have enough mass to sustain nuclear fusion. They remain relatively cool objects visible in lower-energy wavelengths such as infrared.”
This find aids the scientists of this mission as they are attempting to find the smallest stellar body which can facilitate planet development. This small, distant brown dwarf may be the first step in redefining our understanding of planet development.