Topic: NASA’s Infrared Processing and Analysis Center
Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, CA – Astronomers are getting to know the neighbors better. Our sun resides within a spiral arm of our Milky Way galaxy about two-thirds of the way out from the center. It lives in a fairly calm, suburb-like area with an average number of stellar residents.
Recently, NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has been turning up a new crowd of stars close to home: the coldest of the brown dwarf family of “failed” stars.
Now, just as scientists are “meeting and greeting” the new neighbors, WISE has a surprise in store: there are far fewer brown dwarfs around us than predicted.
This image shows our own back yard, astronomically speaking, from a vantage point about 30 light-years away from the sun. It highlights the population of tiny brown dwarfs recently discovered by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE (red circles). The image simulates actual positions of stars. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
«Read the rest of this article»