NASA’s Spitzer Measures Fastest Spinning Brown Dwarf

Science Animations Video • April 7th, 2021 • ssc2021-3b

NASA Spitzer Space Telescope has identified the fastest-spinning brown dwarf known. Brown dwarfs are generally more massive than planets but not massive enough to become stars. These cosmic in-betweeners are plentiful throughout the galaxy, but many mysteries about them remain. 

To measure the rotation rate of the brown dwarf, Spitzer looked for regular changes in its brightness that repeat with each rotation. Scientists then created a simulation of how the rotation speed would affect the brown dwarf’s emitted light spectrum. Measurements with ground-based telescopes matched the simulation and confirmed Spitzer’s measurement.

For more information on the Spitzer Space Telescope go to

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Music: zero-project

Video Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech