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Centauri Dreams

Substellar Objects in Orion

17 Jan 2018, 16:59 UTC
Substellar Objects in Orion
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Although I carry on about upcoming observatories on the ground and in space, I never want to ignore the continuing contribution of the Hubble telescope to our understanding of planet and star formation. As witness the latest deep survey made by team lead Massimo Robberto (Space Telescope Institute) and colleagues, which used the instrument to study small, faint objects in the Orion Nebula. At a relatively close 1,350 light years from Sol, the nebula is something of a proving ground for star formation, and now one that is yielding data on small stars indeed.
Identifying some 1,200 candidate reddish stars, the survey tapped Hubble’s infrared capabilities to extract 17 candidate brown dwarf companions to red dwarf stars, one brown dwarf pair and one brown dwarf with a planetary companion. We also learn that a planetary mass companion to a red dwarf has turned up as well as, interestingly enough, a planet-mass companion to another planet, the duo orbiting each other in the absence of a central star.

Image: This image is part of a Hubble Space Telescope survey for low-mass stars, brown dwarfs, and planets in the Orion Nebula. Each symbol identifies a pair of objects, which can be seen ...

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