January 21, 2014
A team of researchers have directly imaged a very rare type of brown dwarf that can serve as a benchmark for studying objects with masses that lie between stars and planets.
Initial data came from the TRENDS (TaRgetting bENchmark-objects with Doppler Spectroscopy) high-contrast imaging survey that uses adaptive optics and related technologies to target older, faint objects orbiting nearby stars, and precise measurements were made at the W. M. Keck Observatory on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Brown dwarfs emit little light because they do not burn hydrogen and cool rapidly.
Justin R. Crepp, the Freimann Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Notre Dame, said they could provide a link between our understanding of low-mass stars and smaller objects such as planets.