News of the WeekAstronomy

Infrared Gleam Stamps Brown Dwarfs as Stars

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Science  15 Jun 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5524, pp. 1984-1985
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5524.1984b

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PASADENA, CALIFORNIA-- Surprisingly bright infrared light from free-floating brown dwarfs in the nearby Trapezium star cluster indicates that the mysterious bodies are failed stars and not stray planets, astronomers told the American Astronomical Society here on 7 June. Out of 100 brown dwarfs surveyed in the cluster, astronomers concluded that 63 were bright enough to be harboring protoplanetary disks--vast lenses of dust and gas that form around young stars but not around planets.