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Astronomers led by Byeong-Cheol Lee have made a groundbreaking discovery, detecting a brown dwarf orbiting the red giant HD 18438. With a radius of 89 times that of the Sun, HD 18438 is now the largest known star to be orbited by an exoplanet or brown dwarf.
The detection of the brown dwarf was made using the radial velocity method, a common technique used to detect exoplanets and substellar objects. This method measures the gravitational wobble of a star caused by the presence of a companion orbiting around it. Brown dwarfs are known as failed stars, as they are too small to sustain the nuclear reactions that power stars like our sun. However, they are much larger than planets and emit infrared radiation, making them detectable with modern telescopes. The discovery of this brown dwarf in orbit around HD 18438 raises questions about how it formed and whether it could have any moons or planets orbiting it. HD 18438 is a red giant star located approximately 750 light years away in the constellation of Taurus. Red giants are stars that have exhausted the hydrogen fuel in their core and have expanded to many times their original size. They are nearing the end of their life cycle and will eventually shed their outer layers to become a white dwarf. The discovery of the brown dwarf orbiting HD 18438 is a significant milestone in the field of astronomy. It provides valuable insights into the formation and evolution of stars and their planetary systems. This discovery was made thanks to the Bohyunsan Observatory Echelle Spectrograph (BOES). In conclusion, the discovery of a brown dwarf orbiting the red giant HD 18438 is an exciting development in the field of astronomy. With the use of the radial velocity method, astronomers were able to detect this substellar companion, which is 21 times more massive than Jupiter. This discovery raises questions about the formation and evolution of stars and their planetary systems and underscores the importance of continued exploration of our universe.
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