brown dwarf


: a celestial object that is much smaller than a normal star and has insufficient mass to sustain nuclear fusion but that is hot enough to radiate energy especially at infrared wavelengths

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The first brown dwarf was discovered in 1995. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, 24 Aug. 2020 There was some reason to be scared: finding a planet was then — and in some ways is still — really hard, and there were plenty of mistakes, ghosts, inexplicable data points, and other hiccups that never seemed to form a planet or a brown dwarf. John Wenz, Discover Magazine, 8 Oct. 2019 The first real brown dwarf candidate was only found at the end of 1988, just as the team was struggling with classifying their find. Nola Taylor Redd, Discover Magazine, 21 Apr. 2019 At the time, researchers thought SIMP was a brown dwarf: an object that’s too big to be a planet, but too small to be a star. Jake Parks, Discover Magazine, 3 Aug. 2018 But scientists recently discovered a brown dwarf (an object bigger than a planet but not big enough to burn like a star) 18 light years from Earth that is believed to have a bright red aurora. Nathan Case Lancaster University, Discover Magazine, 10 Nov. 2015 That light can be seen by NEOWISE or the retired NASA Spitzer Space Telescope, which helped make brown dwarf discoveries during its 16-year operation between 2003 and 2019. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 19 Aug. 2020 In this study, the team used Spitzer to observe KELT-1b, a brown dwarf. Chelsea Gohd, Discover Magazine, 8 Jan. 2019 An artist's conception of what a brown dwarf might look like. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 28 Nov. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'brown dwarf.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1975, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of brown dwarf was in 1975

Dictionary Entries Near brown dwarf

Cite this Entry

“Brown dwarf.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition

brown dwarf

: an object in space that is much smaller and dimmer than a normal star
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