James Webb discovers silicate clouds on brown dwarf

(ORDO NEWS) — Using the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), scientists have studied a brown dwarf with silicate clouds in its atmosphere. The results of the study were published on arXiv.org.

Brown dwarfs are cosmic objects sometimes referred to as “failed stars”. Although their mass is not enough to trigger the fusion of hydrogen, they can synthesize deuterium, thanks to which they have their own heat and light.

The brown dwarf observed by the researchers is about 72 light-years away. It was first discovered in 2015 and named VHS 1256-1257 b. It is about 19 times the size of Jupiter and previous studies have shown it to be quite young.

Scientists have found that methane, sodium, water, potassium and carbon dioxide are present in the atmosphere of a brown dwarf.

The researchers also managed to detect silicate clouds, which probably consist of minerals such as enstatite, quartz or forsterite. Experts believe that such clouds can influence the brightness of brown dwarfs.

The existence of silicate clouds was previously assumed, but before the JWST, these theories could not be confirmed. Scientists note that the JWST research represents a big step towards a more detailed study of objects such as exoplanets and brown dwarfs.


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