NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Brown dwarf. Computer artwork of a brown dwarf (orange) surrounded by a disc of planet-building dust. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has imaged such a disc around a very low-mass brown dwarf, named OTS 44. Brown dwarfs are 'failed stars'. They are more massive than large planets like Jupiter, but not massive enough to trigger the nuclear reactions that form a star. OTS 44 is only 15 times the mass of Jupiter. It is thought the planet-forming disc around OTS 44 has enough mass to form a small gas giant planet and a few Earth- sized rocky planets.
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