Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have estimated its mass is just high enough for it to fuse hydrogen into helium in its core. In general, the higher an object's mass, the higher it's core density and temperature. Above a certain point, the intense core conditions cause hydrogen atoms to move so fast that many stick or "fuse" after collision, releasing enormous amounts of energy. Were this object less massive, the object would shine by gravitational contraction and so be termed a "brown dwarf" rather than a normal main-sequence "star." The star on the left is so much brighter than the "coolest star" that it creates the white streak and dramatic pattern visible in the image. More information is given by the Space Telescope Scientific Institute's press release.
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings, and Disclaimers
NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.
Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day
Publications with keywords: star
Publications with words: star