NASA James Webb Space Telescope finds a fascinating brown dwarf 19x bigger than Jupiter | Tech News

NASA James Webb Space Telescope finds a fascinating brown dwarf 19x bigger than Jupiter

The James Webb Space Telescope which is run by NASA has captured an image of a brown dwarf. Know more details here.

| Updated on: Sep 07 2022, 13:32 IST
NASA: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter makes astonishing discovery
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1/6 The lunar pits found by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter have mild temperatures, drastically different from the extreme conditions on the surface of the Moon. The temperatures in these caves are nearly 17 degree Celsius almost at all times. (NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)
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2/6 NASA Moon recently tweeted, "Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter images of pits indicate that the Moon has caves. Could they become astronaut habitats? Scientists have discovered that parts of the pits are always about 63°F (17°C), differing from extreme temperatures at the Moon's surface". (NASA)
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3/6 The surface temperatures on the Moon can go from an extremely high 127 degrees Celsius and as low as -173 degrees Celsius. "The pits, and caves to which they may lead, would make thermally stable sites for lunar exploration compared to areas at the Moon's surface, which heat up to 260 F (about 127 C) during the day and cool to minus 280 F (about minus 173 C) at night,” NASA Moon tweeted further. (NASA)
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4/6 First discovered in 2009, these lunar pits could potentially be used as location for a first Moon Base. Not only are the temperatures moderate, but these pits could also provide protection against cosmic rays, solar radiation and micrometeorites, according to NASA. (AP)
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5/6 LRO Project Scientist Noah Petro of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center said, “Lunar pits are a fascinating feature on the lunar surface. Knowing that they create a stable thermal environment helps us paint a picture of these unique lunar features and the prospect of one day exploring them.” (NASA)
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6/6 The particular pit used to analyze the thermal properties by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter was in an area of the Moon known as the Mare Tranquillitatis. It is 100-meters deep and as wide as a football field. According to scientists, the overhang of the pit is responsible for creating shadows on the Moon and maintaining a temperature of nearly 17 degrees Celsius at all times. (NASA)
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This new brown dwarf was detected by the NASA James Webb Space Telescope. It is 19 times the size of Jupiter. (Representational Image) (NASA)

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has been serving up all kinds of fascinating new discoveries from deep space ever since its launch. Now, it has captured images of a brown dwarf which carries silicate particles in its atmosphere. Now, the deep analysis of the image by astronomers described the analysis of the brown dwarf and its unique atmosphere in the arXiv preprint server paper, which mentioned that the observed brown dwarf is approximately 72 light years away. However, the brown dwarf named VHS 1256-1257 b was first detected in 2015. Astronomers say that it is roughly 19 times that of Jupiter, but is still in its young age.

But what are these brown dwarfs? Are they planets or stars? Or intriguingly, something in-between. NASA shed light on this and says, "Brown dwarfs are more massive than planets but not quite as massive as stars. Generally speaking, they have between 13 and 80 times the mass of Jupiter. A brown dwarf becomes a star if its core pressure gets high enough to start nuclear fusion." In simpler words, brown dwarfs are space objects that have failed to become stars simply because they were not big enough. However, they begin their journey as a star, but can't build enough hydrogen to initiate a fusion reaction. And that's why they do not grow to the size of stars, hence they are called brown dwarfs.

Although the temperature and pressure are far lower than those in stars, brown dwarfs can fuse deuterium. Space scientists can detect them because they emit heat and light as well, usually by observing infrared wavelengths. And it just so happens that the James Webb Telescope was made to examine objects in the infrared spectrum.

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Webb Telescope detects brown dwarf

Earlier images of the new dwarf showed a reddish hue to its atmosphere, which instantly grabbed scientists' attention. Now, research on the image revealed that the atmosphere of the brown dwarf is similar to most other dwarfs - filled with methane, sodium, water, potassium and carbon dioxide. They also found thick layers of clouds, which are believed to be made of silicate particles. The study further noted that brown dwarfs can be encircled by dusty clouds, which can have an impact on their brightness. Scientists believe that this will represent a big step towards a detailed study on exoplanets and brown dwarfs in the future.

About Jupiter

"Jupiter is the biggest planet in our solar system. It's similar to a star, but it never got big enough to start burning," says NASA. Jupiter is not considered a brown dwarf because, "First and foremost, it simply does not have enough mass to fall under the classification of a brown dwarf, with your typical brown dwarf around 0.013 solar masses or 13 Jupiter sized planets in weight, with even the smallest size still 10 times the mass of Jupiter, says Scope The Galaxy.

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First Published Date: 07 Sep, 13:32 IST