Eposode 71: Infrared

What does it mean?

Solar masses – This is the mass of our Sun, or about 2 x 1030 kilograms.

Binary – The word binary simply means there are two of something. When applied to a star system, it means that instead of having a single star, two stars orbit their common center of gravity.

Infrared – The band of the Electromagnetic Spectrum with wavelengths in the micrometer range.

In human speak please!

Brown dwarfs are a class of astronomical objects that scientists have recently been studying in detail. They have masses from around 12 to 80 times the mass of Jupiter, and are therefore intermediate in size between very large planets and very small stars.However, brown dwarfs do not have enough mass to generate internal temperatures high enough to spark nuclear fusion, which is what makes a star shine. Because they have a lot of mass, they contract gravitationally, producing heat that is emitted in the infrared part of the spectrum. Infrared is the region of the electromagnetic spectrum just below visible light in terms of energy, and objects that are somewhat hot (including mammals like us) give off infrared.