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Chilly starlike orb found just a few light-years away

WISE J085510.83-071442.5, seen in an artist’s illustration, is the coldest brown dwarf known and the newly minted fourth closest star to the sun.  The surface temperature is a chilly -48 to -13 degrees Celsius.

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Guest post by Christopher Crockett

Not all stars are hot. Astronomers have discovered a brown dwarf — a class of very feeble stars — in our stellar neighborhood that is between -48 to -13 degrees Celsius. The brown dwarf, the coldest one known, is just 7.2 light-years away, making it the fourth closest star to our sun. 

Brown dwarfs straddle the line between stars and planets. They can help astronomers learn more about not only the evolution of stars but also the atmospheres of gas giants like Jupiter.

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