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About the Image

About the Object

04.25.14

Cold and Close Celestial Orb

This artist's conception shows the object named WISE J085510.83-071442.5, the coldest known brown dwarf. Brown dwarfs are dim star-like bodies that lack the mass to burn nuclear fuel as stars do.

WISE J085510.83-071442.5 is as cold as the North Pole (or between minus 54 and 9 degrees Fahrenheit, which is minus 48 to minus 13 degrees Celsius). The color of the brown dwarf in this image is arbitrary; it would have different colors when viewed in different wavelength ranges.

This celestial orb is also the fourth closest to our sun, at 7.2 light-years from Earth. In this illustration, the sun is the bright star directly to the right of the brown dwarf. Our sun's closest neighboring system (not pictured) is Alpha Centauri, at 4 light-years from Earth.

The slightly shifted star field accurately reflects how the sky around the constellations of Aquila and Delphinus would appear from the vantage point of WISE J085510.83-071442.5 and was rendered using Microsoft's WorldWide Telescope.