Sunday, August 20, 2006

What does it take to be a star?

There probably isn't much explanation needed about this, but it's an important detail that astronomers have been trying to nail down for some time: A concentration of cosmic gas must amount to 8.3% of the Sun's mass, or it will never be a star, just a brown dwarf.

Mass cut-off between stars and brown dwarfs revealed
The observations provide the most accurate measurement ever made of the mass boundary between lightweight stars and "failed" stars called brown dwarfs – the dividing line is at about 80 times the mass of Jupiter, in line with theoretical predictions.

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