Who said that peculiar cosmic objects could not exist near our Sun? A new study where both volunteers and professional scientists participated reveals that 95 brown dwarfs are wandering near our own Sun. Brown dwarfs are objects that cannot be considered stars nor planets due to their size and mass. They are included somewhere between the two types of cosmic objects.
While the main culprit was the NASA-funded citizen science project Backyard Worlds: Planet 9, the scientists made the discovery with help from the National Science Foundations National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory.
Formation of exoplanets questioned
Is humanity about to learn a lot more about the formation of exoplanets? How many of these objects can harbor life? How many stars can host exoplanets? While we don’t have yet irrefutable answers to such questions, the good news is that astronomers don’t give up hope.
Aaron Meisner, lead author of the new paper and a scientist from the National Science Foundation’s NOIRLab, declared:
These cool worlds offer the opportunity for new insights into the formation and atmospheres of planets beyond the solar system,
This collection of cool brown dwarfs also allows us to accurately estimate the number of free-floating worlds roaming interstellar space near the sun.
Brown dwarfs are also called ‘failed stars’ due to their lacking of the required mass for sustaining nuclear reactions in the cores. Brown dwarfs have been a true enigma for astronomers for many years, as they are somewhere between massive planets and small stars.
Luckily for us all or not, there’s still a lot more to learn about the edges of the Solar System. Voyager 1, a space probe released by NASA into space way back in the ’70s, has passed way beyond the Solar System and still has a lot of precious info to provide to humanity.
The results of the study were published in the Astrophysical Journal.