First Detection of Water Clouds Outside Our Solar System

First Detection of Water Clouds Outside Our Solar System
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Universe Today

Brown dwarfs – those not-quite-a-planet and not-quite-a-star objects – are intriguing oddities that are too low in mass to burn hydrogen, but are more massive than planets. Just 7.2 light-years from Earth, it is the coldest known object outside of our Solar System and is just barely visible at infrared wavelengths. This is the first time water clouds have been detected outside of our Solar System. “It’s five times fainter than any other object detected with ground-based spectroscopy at this wavelength,” said Andrew Skemer, assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and the first author on a paper on WISE 0855 published in Astrophysical Journal Letters (paper is available on arXiv here)…

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