Brown stars have characteristics of both planet and star

Due to the fact that brown dwarfs are too massive to be planets and too small to be stars, it is very difficult for researchers to classify them. However, they exhibit characteristics of both.

A feature that makes brown dwarfs more like super-sized planets was discovered by scientists after observing one of these so-called failed stars. The research team was led by Gregg Hallinan, an assistant professor of astronomer at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

A brown dwarf living 20 light-years away from earth was discovered by professor Hallinan and his team. It hosts powerful auroras near their magnetic poles. Details of the brown dwarf have been published in the July 30 issue of the journal Nature.

Hallinan said in a Caltech report, "We're finding that brown dwarfs are not like small stars in terms of their magnetic activity; they're like giant planets with hugely powerful auroras". All planets in the solar system that have magnetic fields show auroras, the radiant displays of colors in the sky known on Earth as the northern or southern lights.

According to Space. com's Charles Q. Choi, currents in the magnetosphere of a planet are the cause behind their creation. Electrons are forced to rain down on the atmosphere and collide with the molecules within. This makes them give off light.

Astronomers discovered in the early 2000s that brown dwarfs emit radio waves, but the process is distinct from the one seen in stars.