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News Release Archive:

News Release 378 of 955

March 15, 2006 01:00 PM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-2006-11

Astronomers Measure Precise Mass of a Binary Brown Dwarf

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Video: Eclipsing Binary Brown Dwarfs (Artist's Schematic View)

Artist's Concept Running Time: 8 seconds

This video presents a greatly simplified, schematic view of a pair of brown dwarfs orbiting each other. The binary dwarf system lies in the Orion nebula. The binary pair is too close to be resolved with present-day telescopes. This is an artistic oblique view of the system. In reality, the orbital plane is tilted edge-on to Earth such that the stars are seen eclipsing each other. Eclipses can be frequently observed because the dwarfs complete an orbit approximately once every ten days. Eclipsing binaries allow precise measurements of each companion star's mass, diameter, surface temperature, and intrinsic brightness.

Video Credit: NASA, ESA, A. Feild (STScI)

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