Stellar census: Astronomers calculate the number of stars and brown dwarfs in the vicinity of the Sun

An international team of astronomers has calculated the number of stars and brown dwarfs located next to the Sun. An article with the results of the “census” was published in a recent issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

Brown dwarfs in the artist’s impression. Source: William Pendrill

To cope with this task, the researchers used the results of observations from a number of telescopes, including the Gaia Observatory. They also used data collected by astro enthusiasts as part of the Backyard Worlds citizen science project. Its purpose is to search for dim objects (mainly brown dwarfs) located in the vicinity of the Sun.

In total, during the “census” astronomers were able to identify 3,600 individual objects located within a radius of 20 parsecs (65 light-years) from the Sun. The analysis showed that the ratio of the number of stars to the number of brown dwarfs is 4:1, and the average mass of one object is 0.41 times the mass of the Sun.

According to the researchers, this data will help to better understand exactly how objects are distributed in our part of the galaxy and what is the ratio between their masses. It is worth noting that the sample most likely does not include several hundred of the coldest and faintest brown dwarfs, which have so far escaped the attention of astronomers.

Earlier, we talked about another important discovery related to brown dwarfs. Astronomers have found out that pairs of such objects break up quite quickly, after which they spend their remaining lives alone. 

According to

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