Brown dwarf swallowed by red giant

Using ESO's Very Large Telescope, astronomers have discovered a rather unusual system, in which two planet-size stars, of different colours, orbit each other. One is a rather hot white dwarf, weighing a little bit less than half as much as the Sun. The other is a much cooler, 55 Jupiter-masses brown dwarf. Computer simulation of the merger process of a Red Giant with a Brown Dwarf that leads to the white dwarf/brown dwarf binary system containing WD0137-349. The simulation was done by Los Alamos National Laboratory's members Steven Diehl, Chris Fryer, Falk Herwig, and Gabriel Rockefeller. The image shows four snapshots of the merger at different time, extracted from the movie available in AVI format. The physical size of the frames is a 300x300 solar radii box centered at the position of the red giant core, the white dwarf to be. The color depicts density. The in-spiraling brown dwarf is shown as a black dot. In the movie each frame corresponds to.25days in real evolution, showing a total of 177days or 2.5 original orbits in evolution. During this short time, the brown dwarf already spirals from the surface down to less than 5 solar radii.


ESO/Steven Diehl, Chris Fryer, Falk Herwig, Gabriel Rockefeller, LANL

About the Image

Release date:3 August 2006
Related releases:eso0628
Size:2048 x 2045 px

About the Object

Type:Milky Way : Star : Evolutionary Stage : White Dwarf
Milky Way : Star : Type : Brown Dwarf

Image Formats

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