FOR RELEASE: 11:30 a.m. PDT, June 9, 1998

An example of one of the L-type dwarfs.  At left is a 5x5 arcminute piece of sky as seen in the near-infrared by the Two-Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS).  In the center of the frame, marked with an arrow, is the L-dwarf known as 2MASS J1146+2230.  On the right is the same piece of sky as seen in visible light.  In this view, the L-dwarf is not seen because it is at least 1000 times fainter here than in the near-infrared.  This object has been confirmed as a lithium brown dwarf -- an object which will forever continue to fade because, unlike our Sun, it will never achieve thermonuclear fusion in its core.  This dwarf is believed to be only 18 parsecs (59 light years) from the Sun.  This result was presented at the American Astronomical Society meeting in San Diego, CA, on June 9, 1998.

PHOTO CREDIT:  (Left): 2MASS image courtesy of the University of Massachusetts and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center.  (Right):  Digitized Sky Survey image produced at the Space Telescope Science Institute under U.S. Government grant NAG W-2166.   The image is based on photographic data obtained using the Oschin Schmidt Telescope located on Palomar Mountain and operated by the California Institute of Technology and Palomar Observatory.