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Mini Solar System in the Making
Ssc2005 06b

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)

Artwork • February 7th, 2005 • ssc2005-06b

ssc2005-06b

This artist's concept shows a brown dwarf surrounded by a swirling disk of planet-building dust. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope spotted such a disk around a surprisingly low-mass brown dwarf, or "failed star." The brown dwarf, called OTS 44, is only 15 times the size of Jupiter, making it the smallest brown dwarf known to host a planet-forming, or protoplanetary disk.

Astronomers believe that this unusual system will eventually spawn planets. If so, they speculate that OTS 44's disk has enough mass to make one small gas giant and a few Earth-sized rocky planets.

OTS 44 is about 2 million years old. At this relatively young age, brown dwarfs are warm and appear reddish in color. With age, they grow cooler and darker.

About the Object

Name
OTS 44
Type
Star > Type > Brown Dwarf
Star > Circumstellar Material > Disk > Protoplanetary
Distance
550 Light Years