AB Doradus C

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Mass is a defining factor of stars and gives researchers clues as to how dense a star is, the temperature of its core and the nature of thermonuclear reactions, if any, that occur inside. The general consensus of today is that any star smaller than 75 times the size of Jupiter contains insufficient energy to convert hydrogen into helium. Smaller stars eventually degenerate into brown dwarfs, once considered the main ingredient in universal dark matter by notable astronomers. Today they are believed to be minor players in the game. The New York Times reported that AB Doradus C, the smallest star to ever be reliably weighed, turned out to be twice it’s predicted mass, and as Dr. Laird Close of the University of Arizona notes, “Two times is a huge error.”

He then adds the following for humorous effect: “Imagine guessing your wife’s mass wrong by a factor of two…!”

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