Luhman 16: Binary Brown Dwarf System
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Space
- Recently, a group of astrophysicists have found that the closest known brown dwarf, Luhman 16A.
- It also shows signs of cloud bands similar to those seen on Jupiter and Saturn.
- They used polarimetry technique to determine the properties of atmospheric clouds.
- They have found the actual structure of the clouds (not only their presence) in case of Luhman 16A.
Important value additions:
- Luhman 16A is part of a binary system (Luhman 16) containing a second brown dwarf, Luhman 16B.
- This pair orbits each other.
- It is situated at a distance of about 6.5 light years from the Sun and
- It is the third closest system to the Sun after Alpha Centauri and Barnard’s star.
- They are also called failed stars.
- Their masses are heavier than planets but lighter than stars.
Binary Stars System
- Binary stars are two stars orbiting a common center of mass.
- Calculations of their orbits allow the masses of their component stars to be directly determined.
- It is the study of polarization.
- It is a property of light.
- It represents the direction in which the light wave oscillates.
- When light is reflected off of particles it can favor a certain angle of polarization.
- By measuring the angle from a distant system, astronomers can deduce the presence of clouds.