Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A Brown Dwarf Joins The Jet-Set

24.05.2007
VLT Finds Smallest Galactic Object with Jets

Jets of matter have been discovered around a very low mass 'failed star', mimicking a process seen in young stars. This suggests that these 'brown dwarfs' form in a similar manner to normal stars but also that outflows are driven out by objects as massive as hundreds of millions of solar masses down to Jupiter-sized objects.

The brown dwarf with the name 2MASS1207-3932 is full of surprises [1]. Its companion, a 5 Jupiter-mass giant, was the first confirmed exoplanet for which astronomers could obtain an image (see ESO 23/04 and 12/05), thereby opening a new field of research - the direct detection of alien worlds. It was then later found (see ESO 19/06) that the brown dwarf has a disc surrounding it, not unlike very young stars.

Now, astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) have found that the young brown dwarf is also spewing jets, a behaviour again quite similar to young stars.

The mass of the brown dwarf is only 24 Jupiter-masses. Hence, it is by far the smallest object known to drive an outflow. "This leads us to the tantalizing prospect that young giant planets could also be associated with outflows," says Emma Whelan, the lead-author of the paper reporting the results.

The outflows were discovered using an amazing technique known as spectro-astrometry, based on high resolution spectra taken with UVES on the VLT. Such a technique was required due to the difficulty of the task. While in normal young stars - known as T-Tauri stars for the prototype of their class - the jets are large and bright enough to be seen directly, this is not the case around brown dwarfs: the length scale of the jets, recovered with spectro-astrometry is only about 0.1 arcsecond long, that is, the size of a two Euro coin seen from 40 km away.

The jets stretch about 1 billion kilometres and the material is rushing away from the brown dwarf with a speed of a few kilometres per second.

The astronomers had to rely on the power of the VLT because the observed emission is extremely faint and only UVES on the VLT could provide both the sensitivity and the spectral resolution they required.

"Discoveries like these are purely reliant on excellent telescopes and instruments, such as the VLT," says Whelan. "Our result also highlights the incredible level of quality which is available today to astronomers: the first telescopes built by Galileo were used to observe the moons of Jupiter. Today, the largest ground-based telescopes can be used to observe a Jupiter size object at a distance of 200 light-years and find it has outflows!"

Using the same technique and the same telescope, the team had previously discovered outflows in another young brown dwarf. The new discovery sets a record for the lowest mass object in which jets are seen [2].

Outflows are ubiquitous in the Universe, as they are observed rushing away from the active nuclei of galaxies - AGNs - but also emerging from young stars. The present observations show they even arise in still lower mass objects. The outflow mechanism is thus very robust over an enormous range of masses, from several tens of millions of solar mass (for AGNs) down to a few tens of Jupiter masses (for brown dwarfs).

Henri Boffin | alfa
Further information:
http://www.eso.org/public/outreach/press-rel/pr-2007/pr-24-07.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Pulses of electrons manipulate nanomagnets and store information
21.07.2017 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion
21.07.2017 | National Institutes of Natural Sciences

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>