Astronomers have discovered the very first aurora outside our solar system, around a brown celestial object orbiting the Sun, known as dwarf. The aurora is said to be situated about 18 light years away from Earth.
Rumor has it that the aurora is up to 10.000 times more powerful than any of its predecessors.
The team of astronomers was comprised of scientists from the US, the UK, Germany, Ireland, Russia and Bulgaria.
An aurora is a luminous atmospheric display in the sky, sometimes appearing as bands of light, being visible in the night sky, in northern or southern extremities of the Earth.
An Earthly aurora is thought to be cause by particles from the Sun penetrating the Earth’s magnetic field, whilst stimulating molecules in the atmosphere.
The newly discovered aurora is similar to the visually enticing, beautiful phenomenon knowns as Aurora Borealis of the North Pole.
Gregg Hallinan, scientist at the California Institute of Technology, said that the magnetic activity seen on the celestial object can be explained by powerful auroras.
He also reported that:
“This indicates that auroral activity replaces solar-like coronal activity on brown dwarfs and smaller objects.”
The astronomers analyzed the dwarf using the reflecting Hale Telescope at the Palomar Observatory, California and the two telescopes at Keck Observatory in Hawaii.
Also, the scientists from the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) radio astronomy observatory located on the Plains of San Agustin, New Mexico, made their contribution to the observation of the celestial object.
This combination of thorough radio and optical observations illustrated that the brown dwarf has many intricate characteristics, unlike those seen in other massive stars.
The brown dwarf is a cold, dark star which is too small to initiate the nuclear reactions that generate heat and light, unlike normal stars. So, a brown dwarf has insufficient hydrogen fusion reactions in order to produce radiant energy.
Astronomers have named this particular brown dwarf: LSR J1835+3259.
Hallinan also stated that the phenomenon of the aurora observed on this extrasolar system dwarf seemed similar to what they had seen on Jupiter,
“but thousands of times more powerful.”
He added that their discovery suggested that this activity might be detectable from extrasolar bigger and more massive planets than Jupiter as well, whereas, Jupiter and its moon Io also generate auroras, referring to our Solar System.
In any case, this exciting scientific discovery might just as well reveal much more about the Via Lactea (i.e. our galaxy, the Milky Way) on many different levels.
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