Not quite massive enough to ignite nuclear fusion, brown dwarfs may be as common as regular stars in the universe. Study Astronomy Online at Swinburne University The ~4.5 light years between Sol and Alpha Centauri is not two distinct zones, but a single common zone or continuim with multiple ” Ort Clouds” a couple of Brown Dwarfs and perhaps even a ~ .o8 Solar Masses Red Dwarf Star between Sol and the Alpha Centuari/Proxima Centauri system. Here's what to expect. On the other hand, all the BD’s detected so far have been at least – what figure did I see somewhere – about 350 F, hot as an oven. Still, speculation abounds as to whether brown dwarfs in general (as opposed to any specific brown dwarf in particular) might warm a companion planet long enough to nurture life. And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com. Is there time, then, for life to form on such a planet? As the object fades, its habitable zone moves past any worlds in it. It has been suggested that once they use up their meager supply of deuterium (perhaps in as little as 10 million years), they fade to black. Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! It actually can sustain fusion, but only for 10 billion years before it sputters out. Having said that I’m hanging out for the WISE data to be crunched and for a bunch of really close BDs to emerge that can be scrutinized for transits and RVs. Like the rest, I can’t wait for the WISE results! Or will be until infrared surveys like WISE tell us just how common brown dwarfs really are in our stellar neighborhood. "Gibor This makes them extremely difficult to observe. NY 10036. the same process that formed stars extends to bodies of low mass as well." Brown dwarfs, therefore, are transitional objects, standing between stars and giant gas planets. The authors study whether or not such planets can be habitable, noting this key fact about brown dwarf evolution: The brown dwarf is continually fading as it releases gravitational potential energy. The radiation will actually be an useful source of energy/oxidants : Considering how much is presently known about extra-solar life (practically nothing), your answer (whatever it might be) is certainly no less likely than anybody else's! Brown dwarfs are sub-stellar objects that have masses between those of stars and planets, generally between 10 and 90 time sthe mass of Jupiter. Enter your email address to receive blog posts from Centauri Dreams via email: Further Astronomical and Astronautical Resources. Further, although the lifetime of a brown dwarf may indeed be greater than that of a typical sun, the period of its radiant output may be very short indeed. Or there could be particles churned up and spit out by the BD itself. If this is indeed the case it is going to open up all sorts of opportunities to discover, explore and perhaps even colonize depending on what we find out there.

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