Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Coolest known Star: WISE 1828+2650

Five months after discovering a star only about 20 degrees hotter than a cup of McDonald's coffee, scientists stumbled across a star they believe is even colder. WISE 1828+2650 is only 80 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning if we ever went there, we could romp around on the surface in a space helmet and shorts.

WISE 1828+2650 is part of a small group of cold stars known as brown dwarfs. These little buddies begin their lives just like normal stars, but don't have the required mass to take off. In fact, these stars are so small that they don't have enough mass to undergo hydrogen fusion, which in a normal star is what releases all that energy in the form of heat. And yet, these lumps of uselessness are still considered stars because no one has the heart to tell them otherwise.