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Dubbed CFBDSIR 1458 10b, the star is what's called a brown dwarf. These oddball objects are often called failed stars, because they have starlike heat and chemical properties but don't have enough mass for the crush of gravity to ignite nuclear fusion at their cores.
With surface temperatures hovering around 206 degrees F (97 degrees C), the newfound star is the coldest brown dwarf seen to date. (Related: "Dimmest Stars in Universe Spotted?")
"Over the years there has been steady but slow progress in pushing the boundaries of finding the coldest stars," said study leader Michael Liu, an astronomer at the University of Hawaii.
"But with this latest discovery we have made a big leap forward—besting the previous record holder by at least 150 Kelvin [270 degrees F, or 150 degrees C]," he said.
Coldest Star May Have Watery Atmosphere?
With an estimated mass of only 6 to 15 times that of Jupiter, CFBDSIR 1458 10b is the smaller and dimmer member of a binary system in which two brown dwarfs are locked in close orbit.
Liu and his team spotted the pair's faint infrared signature using the W.M. Keck Observatory and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, both on the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii.
The discovery is stretching our understanding of where to draw the line between what is a planet and what is a star, Lui added. (Related: "'Super Earth' May Really Be New Planet Type: Super-Io.")
For instance, although surface temperatures on our solar system's Jupiter sit around -236 degrees F (-149 degrees C), astronomers have found so-called hot Jupiters orbiting other stars with surface temperatures around 1,000 degrees F (538 degrees C).
In star terms, "this new object is so much colder than anything else seen that it now enters the regime where it may actually have an atmosphere with water clouds," Liu said. (Related: "First Proof of Wet 'Hot Jupiter' Outside Solar System.")
Originally posted by Artorius
reply to post by Ophiuchus 13
It really just goes to show how little we know about our universe....nothing is written in stone
Originally posted by AdamsMurmur
This is actually where Starbucks came from.
"this new object is so much colder than anything else seen that it now enters the regime where it may actually have an atmosphere with water clouds," Liu said.