(ORDO NEWS) — Astronomers report the discovery of a new brown dwarf as part of the Ophiuchus Disk Survey Employing ALMA (ODISEA) program.
The object, designated SSTc2d J163134.1-24006, appears to be experiencing a quasi-spherical mass loss. This discovery was detailed in an article published Sept. 2 on arXiv.org.
Brown dwarfs are intermediate objects between planets and stars, having a mass range of 13 to 80 Jupiter masses (0.012 to 0.076 solar masses).
They can burn deuterium, but they cannot burn ordinary hydrogen, as this requires a minimum mass of at least 80 Jupiter masses and a core temperature of about 3 million K.
A team of astronomers from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Virginia investigated SSTc2d J163134.1-24006, originally identified as a faint stellar object, as part of the ODISEA project to study the population of protoplanetary disks in the Ophiuchus molecular cloud.
They found that SSTc2d J163134.1-24006 is a brown dwarf with a mass of about 0.05 solar masses and an elliptical shell of carbon monoxide (CO).
A team of scientists by lucky chance discovered an expanding shell of carbon monoxide ejected from an object with a temperature below 3000 K, located in the direction of the Ophiuchus molecular cloud. Further observations showed that this shell is associated with SSTc2d J163134.1.
To explain the nature of SSTc2d J163134.1 and its expanding envelope, astronomers considered various scenarios and concluded that the object is a brown dwarf located about 139 pc away in the Ophiuchus cloud.
Given that the carbon monoxide ejection from SSTc2d J163134.1 is elliptical, it has been noted that this makes it the first brown dwarf to exhibit a quasi-spherical mass loss.
The authors of the article suggest that the deuterium burst may be the cause of this phenomenon, but more detailed theoretical work is required to test this explanation.
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