Astronomers have detected what may be the most-rapidly-rotating, ultra-cool, brown-dwarf star ever seen. The super-fast rotation period of less than an hour was measured by using the 305-metre Arecibo radio telescope — the same telescope that was used to discover the first planets ever found outside our solar system.
A team of astronomers in the UK, USA and Australia have found a planet, until now thought to be a free floating, in a huge, 900,000-year orbit around its star. Incredibly the object, designated as 2MASS J2126, is about 1 trillion (1 million million) kilometres from the star, or about 7,000 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun.
Brown dwarfs are relatively cool, dim objects that are too massive to be planets, yet they are too small to sustain hydrogen fusion reactions. By observing a brown dwarf 20 light-years away, researchers have found another feature that makes these so-called failed stars more like supersized planets — they host powerful aurorae near their magnetic poles.