Pluto’s neighbourhood explored: How do planets form?

Find out how it came to be the “brown dwarf nearest to the sun.” The brown dwarf in question is GRF 103-2029-R, a small, light and very dusty object in our galaxy. Not much…

Pluto's neighbourhood explored: How do planets form?

Find out how it came to be the “brown dwarf nearest to the sun.”

The brown dwarf in question is GRF 103-2029-R, a small, light and very dusty object in our galaxy.

Not much is known about GRF 103-2029-R, but it has been described as a type Aa brown dwarf, which is a tiny gas world that is too cold for liquid water to exist, but not too cold for it to retain warm interstellar gas.

So far as we know, GRF 103-2029-R is the closest brown dwarf found in our galaxy, orbiting the sun in a relative orbit that was referred to as Brown Dwarf 55° 24.2°. Even this is a very narrow band, since other brown dwarfs close to our sun orbit only slightly farther, at 55° 26.6°.

GRF 103-2029-R was discovered in 2011 by the Multimeter Array (MMA) at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. It is not yet known what its mass is, but some astronomers thought that its gravity could be comparable to the mass of a gas giant planets such as Jupiter or Neptune.

In a message to this week’s Bad Astronomy podcast (Janet Snell and me), a NASA spokesperson said that it “appears that SN 2012 r2 is currently undergoing a physical transformation into the Earth-like world. We hope that this new evidence will lead to more observations of this intriguing object.”

This story first appeared on Universe Today.

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