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Coldest Brown Dwarfs Blur Star, Planet Lines

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Coldest Brown Dwarfs Blur Star, Planet Lines

In 2011, astronomers on the hunt for the coldest star-like celestial bodies discovered a new class of such objects using NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) space telescope. But until now, no one knew exactly how cool the bodies’ surfaces really are. In fact, some evidence suggested they could be at room temperature.

A new study using data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope shows that while these so-called brown dwarfs are indeed the coldest known free-floating celestial bodies, they are warmer than previously thought, with surface temperatures ranging from about 250 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (125 to 175 degrees Celsius). By comparison, the sun has a surface temperature of about 10,340 degrees Fahrenheit (5,730 degrees Celsius).

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