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Milky Way Could Have 100 Billion Brown Dwarfs, A New Research Says

First Posted: Jul 07, 2017 04:29 AM EDT
Brown Dwarf
The artist's idea of a Type-t brown dwarf or also known as "failed star."
(Photo : Carnegie Science/YouTube screenshot)

About 100 billion brown dwarfs or also referred to as "failed stars" could be creeping around the Milky Way Galaxy. It was seen and observed that brown dwarfs are abundant in the survey of dense star clusters.

The findings of the new research were presented at the National Astronomy Meeting in Hull, England, on July 6, 2017. The work was led by Koraljka Muzic from Portugal's University of Lisbon and Aleks Scholz from Scotland's University of St. Andrews.

Scholz said that they have found a lot of brown dwarfs in the clusters, and whatever the cluster type, the brown dwarfs are common. He further said that brown dwarfs form alongside star in clusters. This indicates that there are a huge number of brown dwarfs in the Milky Way, as Space.com noted.

The team speculated that there might be 25 billion to 100 billion of brown dwarfs in the Milky Way. On the other hand, they suspect that there could be more brown dwarfs in the galaxy that are too small and faint to be identified with the telescopes that scientists are using now.

A brown dwarf is a substar or astronomical object that occupies the mass range between the heaviest gas giant planets and the lightest stars. Brown dwarfs are not massive enough to enable the nuclear fusion of ordinary hydrogen to helium in their cores but rather thought to have nuclear fusion reactions. They are designated as types M, L, T and Y. They are also of various colors and could appear magenta, orange or red.

The researchers are having their Substellar Objects in Nearby Young Clusters (SONYC) survey when they found that in the star cluster NGC 1333, it has an unusually high number of brown dwarfs. They used ESA's Very Large Telescope in northern Chile in their research. They discovered that there are about half as many brown dwarfs as there are stars in this cluster instead of one brown dwarf for every six stars. They also found many brown dwarfs in the star cluster RCW 38 in the constellation Vela.

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