• Question: What discoveries have you made related to astrophsics?

    Asked by Amisha to Miriam on 13 Nov 2018.
    • Photo: Miriam Hogg

      Miriam Hogg answered on 13 Nov 2018:

      I have made a few but none that will change the world!

      I studied a few systems that were thought to have a white dwarf (a star that has run out of fuel and ‘died’) and brown dwarf (a failed star) orbiting each other very closely! I looked at data from 25 systems and a grand total of 5 were white dwarfs with brown dwarfs orbiting them. Up until now less than 30 were known, so I have added these new systems.

      These systems are weird because we don’t know how they form! When the white dwarf was a star it was probably very big (between 1-6 times the mass of the sun) while brown dwarfs are more like 0.08 times the mass of the sun. We have no idea how that tiny little brown dwarf managed to form next to a massive star like that! To understand them better and try work out how they form (we have a few ideas) we need to find as many as possible to study!