Evaporating protostar IRAS 20324+4057

Image credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), and IPHAS. We love evaporating protostars in this corner of the internet, so this new APOD image is particularly good especially as it was taken back in 2006, and only released recently. The story is the usual one: stars form in clusters very often and the energetic winds of nearby massive stars are eroding the material from which this protostar is trying to form and blasting it away. We can immediately see that the final mass of the star will be dependent on the effectiveness of this process, and that in general the mass of a clump of material which might form a star will not exactly predict the final main sequence mass outcome.

Elsewhere, more brown dwarfs are being found very nearby in the solar neighbourhood. Following the overview of the diversity of T dwarfs revealed by WISE published earlier this year by Mace et al., and the round-up of a few more by Bihain et al. (2013) – one of which at 5 ± 1 pc happens to be the nearest in the northern hemisphere – there has been renewed interest in the L/T dwarf transition. Seven new such objects within 15 pc – all of which must also be brown dwarfs – have been found by cross-matching the optical Pan-STARRS and infrared WISE data over 30,000 square degrees by Best et al., in arXiv today. Using WISE and 2MASS, Castro et al. have collected three more L dwarfs within 25 pc plus a 10 pc transition object. Lastly, the companion to HD 95086 appears ever more planet-like with its non-detection in the near-infrared H-band (1.6 μm) ruling out confusion with a foreground brown dwarf source.

Update: WISE is of course now NEOWISE, hunting for hazardous near-Earth objects.


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