Researchers have announced the discovery of SDSS J0104+1535, a new milestone brown dwarf star said to have the purest composition of any known similar dwarf, as well as the highest discovered mass. The star is found in the far reaches of our galaxy in a constellation called Pisces, and it is one of many ancient stars that compose that region. The star is thought to be around 10 billion years old.
The discovery was recently detailed in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. SDSS J014+1535 is about 750 light-years from our own planet, and it is composed of gas said to be 250 times more pure than our own Sun. Researchers estimate it is made of 99.99% helium and hydrogen.
Though the star is designated a ‘dwarf,’ it packs quite a bit of mass into its frame – about 90 times the amount composing Jupiter. As such, this newly discovered star is officially the most massive among all known brown dwarfs. Observations about the star were made suing the ESO’s Very Large Telescope.
The discovery is notable for multiple reasons, not the least of which is its record-breaking nature. Researchers hadn’t previously known whether a brown dwarf could exist with a such a composition — this finding reveals that it is indeed possible. This could pave the way to other similar discoveries of ultra-pure brown dwarfs in the same region.