Astronomers Discover Brown Dwarf Objects, Did Stellar Cannibalism Cause Star Transformation?

First Posted: May 19, 2016 07:52 AM EDT

A star has been discovered after it was consumed by a white dwarf companion. The sub-stellar object was detected by a team of astronomers during an observation of a faint binary system or J1433 located at a distance of 730 light years.  The system has a low-mass object, which is about 60 times the Jupiter mass, in the tight 78-minute orbit around the white dwarf. With a very close distance, the white dwarf removes the 90 percent mass of the low-mass companion, hence, turning it into a brown dwarf.

"Failed stars" are those that are mostly called brown dwarfs that were produced with very little mass to shine by fusing the hydrogen in the center. In contrast, the brown dwarf in the system was created as a completely developed star, but has been removed of its current mass of billions of years due to stellar cannibalism.

The study of star, which was published in the journal Nature, had to use an instrument called the X-Shooter in the Very Large Telescope in Chile to directly locate and characterize the system that has survived a traumatic transformation. According to lead author Juan Venancio Hernandez Santisteban, the X-Shooter is a special instrument that is used to observe astronomical objects all at the same time from ultraviolet to an infrared. Santisteban added that this  has allowed them to dissect the system's light and discover the hidden sign from the faint brown dwarf, Science Daily reported.

A data to plot the surface temperature over the brown dwarf was also used by the astronomers, which has turned out to be non-uniform because the sub-stellar object is irradiated by a warmer white dwarf companion. The map clearly indicates the difference in temperature between the night and day sides or the side that faces the white dwarf.

It was also found that the difference totals to 57 degrees Celsius, although the coldest and the warmest regions on the surface of the brown dwarf differ by 200 degrees Celsius, according to Daily Mail.

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