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We will speak about how astronomers found nearby brown dwarfs with the help of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Brown dwarfs have an obvious difference between planets and stars which questions everything we theorized about them. Many astronomers will use Webb to take a closer look into both star formation and the exoplanet atmospheres because brown dwarfs are in between. Old telescopes Hubble, Spitzer, and ALMA have shown that brown dwarfs can be up to 70 times bigger than gas planets like Jupiter, but they don’t have enough mass for their cores to burn fuel and make light. Though brown dwarfs were theorized in 1995, there is not an explanation of how they form. Like a star or like a planet?
Scientists believe somewhere in between. Some brown dwarfs live by other stars and some drift alone. Brown dwarfs are small, dim, and gassy. At Université de Montréal, Étienne Artigau has a team that is using Webb to investigate a brown dwarf called SIMP0136. It is one of the closest to our Sun, which makes it easier to study. It has many traits of a planet without being too blinding like the light of a star. SIMP0136 was the same brown dwarf they used for another scientific discovery from his team a while back, when they found that they have a cloudy atmosphere. They are going to use Webb to find out what is in the clouds. Also, Webb has probe features, such as water absorption, that are inaccessible from the ground at this level of precision” Artigau said. This is why they need webb in space, out of our atmosphere. These functions could eventually tell us which bodies in space could support life.
All these functions are techniques known as transit spectroscopy. SIMP0136 has a similar temperature as other planets that will be studied in transit spectroscopy with Webb. The search for low-mass, alone brown dwarfs was one of the early science goals made for the Webb telescope in the 1990s said astronomer Aleks Scholz of the University of St. Andrews. Brown dwarfs have a lower mass than stars and have a dim luminosity so they are best seen in infrared light, which is why they need Webb for this research. Some brown dwarfs are not much heavier than Jupiter, It has been hard for astronomers to find brown dwarfs that are less than five times the mass of Jupiter the mass where star and planet formation get confused together. That is why they need the webb telescope, because it can do things that other telescopes can not.
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