Gliese 229 system, artwork

Gliese 229 system, artwork

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Credit: WALTER MYERS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Gliese 229 system. Computer artwork of the brown dwarf Gliese 229 b (Gl229 b, right) in orbit around its parent star, the red dwarf Gliese 229 (upper left). Gl229 b was the first brown dwarf to be directly imaged when it was found in 1995. A brown dwarf is an intermediate object between a gas giant planet (like Jupiter) and a star. Gl229 b has a mass between 20 and 50 times that of Jupiter, but is still too small to sustain the nuclear reactions characteristic of stars. These two dwarfs are about four billion miles apart, about the same distance between Pluto and our sun. The system lies around 19 light years from Earth in the constellation Lepus.

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