May 23, 2022

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An inexplicable 'accident' discovered 150 light years from Earth • Trends21

An inexplicable ‘accident’ discovered 150 light years from Earth • Trends21

There is a mystery surrounding a celestial body moving at 200 kilometers per second 150 light-years from Earth: the accident is called, and it could be an ancient brown dwarf created at the beginning of the Milky Way or a wandering exoplanet.

For more than two years, astronomers have been fascinated by the mystery surrounding an astronomical “accident” that they cannot explain.

It’s an episode that occurred on November 3, 2018, by chance, when astronomer Dan Caselden discovered, and analyzed data from the NASA Space Telescope, a celestial body that was moving at breakneck speed 50 light-years from Earth.

This object has been called, without more, “The Accident”, although it also has a more technical name WISE 1534-1043: astronomers consider it not a star or a planet, but a failed star lacking the size needed to start nuclear energy fusion into its core.

More specifically, it would be a sub-stellar object known as brown dwarfIts size is between the largest of the planets and the smallest stars.

WISE 1534-1043 shines at an extraordinary speed of 200 kilometers per second, 25% faster than any other celestial body of the same nature.

Plus, it’s among the coldest brown dwarfs, so it doesn’t emit much light: the little it does is concentrated in the infrared.

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new notes

Now, new research, led by J.Devy Kirkpatrick (Caltech), adds new observations of this object that further puzzles astronomers. They don’t know what to think stand out American Astronomical Association (AAS).

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By analyzing color graphs that explore optical properties, this team verified that their behavior is unique among the 50 cold brown dwarfs known.

These astronomers consider that there are four possible explanations for this astronomical singularity: First, it is an old, cold brown dwarf with a very low mineral content.

The second, that it is a young brown dwarf with very low mass and low gravity. Third, it’s a wandering exoplanet. And fourth, it’s an extremely cold stellar remnant, like a white dwarf.

New star category

Of these options, the authors consider the former to be the most likely and that the accident represents the first known Y-type sub-dwarf, a new class of stars.

Researchers they explain In this regard, Quanta magazine reported that El Accidente appears to be poor in minerals.

“We think this is an older brown dwarf that was created before the Milky Way had all the mineral enrichment it has now,” Kirkpatrick says.

It was probably one of the first brown dwarfs to form in our galaxy, originating in the outer galactic halo that surrounds the Milky Way and then migrating inward.

Since it is impossible to further investigate their nature directly from Earth, “verification, refutation, or further confusion” of these options should be possible in the future with observations from the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, the authors suggest.

complex puzzle

It won’t be easy: despite their name, brown dwarfs will appear in different colors to the naked eye depending on their temperature.

The warmest ones are probably orange or red, while the cooler brown dwarfs are likely to appear purple to the human eye.

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Although their existence was originally theoretical in the 1960s, it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the first obvious brown dwarfs were discovered.

The closest known brown dwarfs are found in the Luhman 16 system, a binary of L and T-type brown dwarfs at a distance of about 6.5 light-years.


The mysterious brown dwarf WISEA J153429.75-104303.3 (also known as “The Accident”). J. Davey Kirkpatrick et al. Astrophysical Journal Letters, Volume 915, Number 1. DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/ac0437