Astronomers Directly Image Super-Jupiter Around Kappa Andromedae

Posted on November 19, 2012

Astronomers have directly imaged a "super-Jupiter" around the bright star Kappa Andromedae. Astronomers used infrared red data from Hawaii's Subaru Telescope to image the massive object, which has a mass of 12.8 times that of Jupiter. The astronomers say the object, called Kappa Andromedae b, is either a planet or a brown dwarf. An artist's rendering of the super-Jupiter is pictured above.

Michael McElwain, a member of the discovery team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md, said in a The astronomers say that if an object is massive enough it can produce energy internally by fusing a heavy form of hydrogen called deuterium. This fusion occurs around a mass of 13 Jupiters, which is the lowest possible mass for a brown dwarf. The super-Jupiter discovered is slightly less than this mass.

A paper describing the results has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters and will appear in a future issue.

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