Closest neighbors of the Solar System (Image: Pennsylvania State University)
Artist's conception of WISE J1049-5319, with the brightly shining Sun 6.5 light years away in the background (Photo: Pennsylvania State University/Janella Williams)
Gemini South reveals that WISE J1049-5319 is a binary star (Photo: NASA/JPL/Gemini Observatory/AURA/NSF)
In a day when we have examined astronomical objects shining forth from a time shortly after the Big Bang, one would think astronomers have a pretty good handle on what is in the immediate vicinity of the Solar System. That's why the recent report of a binary star lying only 6.5 light-years away came as rather a surprise to the astronomical community. The pair, called WISE J1049-5319 A and B, are brown dwarf stars and only two star systems – the triple star Alpha Centauri, and Barnard's Star – lie closer to our Sun.
Other Images from this Gallery