The Accident

A new study explains how a peculiar cosmic object (WISEA J153429.75-104303.3) nicknamed “The Accident” – came to be. Also known as the brown dwarf, though these objects may form like stars, they do not have enough mass to start a nuclear fusion which makes stars shine. While brown dwarfs may defy characterisation sometimes, astronomers had a thorough understanding of their general characteristics, or at least they thought they did, until they found this one!

“Brown dwarfs aren’t quite stars and aren’t quite planets. But the discovery of a brown dwarf with strange properties that scientists dubbed “The Accident” suggests there might be more of them lurking in our galaxy than previously thought,” posted NASA on its Twitter along with a video.

‘The Accident’ slipped past normal searches because it did not resemble any of more than 2,000 brown dwarfs found in the galaxy so far. According to NASA, as brown dwarfs age, they cool and their brightness changes in different wavelengths of light. ‘The Accident’ confused scientists because it was faint in some key wavelengths, suggesting it was very cold (and old), but bright in others, indicating a higher temperature.

The object defied all their expectations, said Day Kikpatrick, an astrophysicist at PAC at Caltech in Pasadena, California. He and his co-authors  believe that ‘The Accident’ might be 10 to 13 billion years old – at least double the median age of known brown dwarfs.

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