From Manu: “Brown dwarfs dancing”


Manu Garcia, a friend from IAC.

The universe around us.
Astronomy, everything you wanted to know about our local universe and never dared to ask.

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This seemingly non-spectacular series of points with varying distances between them really shows the slow waltz of two brown dwarfs. The image is a stack of 12 images carried out over three years with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Using a high-Precision Astrometrics, a team of Italian-LED Astronomers tracked the two components of the system as they moved across the sky and around the other.

The Observed System, * Luhmann 16 ab *, is only six light-years away and is the third star system closest to earth – after the Triple Star Alpha Centauri System And Barnard’s star. Despite its proximity, luhmann 16 ab was discovered only in 2013 by astronomer Kevin Luhmann. The Two Brown dwarfs forming the system, luhmann 16 a and luhmann 16 b, orbit each other at a distance of only three times the distance between the earth and the sun, so these observations are a showcase of the Hubble’s precision and high resolution.

The Astronomers who used hubble to study luhmann 16 ab were not only interested in the waltz of the two brown dwarfs, but were also looking for a third, invisible, dance partner. Previous observations with very large telescope of that indicated the presence of a exoplanet in the system. The team wanted to verify this statement by analyzing the movement of brown dwarfs in great detail for a long period of time, but Hubble’s data showed that the two dwarves dance alone, without being disturbed by a massive planetary partner.

Credit:
That / Hubble and NASA, l. Bedin et al.

See the full article here .

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