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03.08.2015 Assoc. Prof. Antoaneta Antonova from the Department of Physics of the University of Sofia is part of an international team observed for the first time auroras outside solar system

An international team of astronomers, led by Greg Halinan (Caltech, USA), among which is Assoc. Prof. Antoaneta Antonova from the Department of Astronomy at the University of Sofia "St. Kliment Ohridski", observed for the first time auroras outside the solar system. Scientists have used the Very Large Array radio telescope in New Mexico, 5-meter telescope "Hale" in California and 10-m telescopes at the observatory "Keck" in Hawaii (USA). The discovery was published in the most prestigious scientific journal "Nature" on July 30, 2015.

For 25 years this is the second publication in "Nature" featuring an astronomer from the University of Sofia. On the occasion of this publication, the British newspaper "The Guardian" Assoc. Prof. Antonova noted that the discovery is the culmination of work on the study of nature objects called brown dwarfs.

Northern lights, a million times more powerful than Earth's counterpart, were observed in the magnetosphere of the brown dwarf LSR J1835 + 3259 from the constellation Lyra, which is 18.5 light years from us. The brown dwarfs, discovered only in 1995, and sometimes called "The failed stars", are objects more massive than planets but too small to ignite thermonuclear reactions. They are difficult to study because they are very cool (800-2500 degrees) and have a very low luminosity.

Aurora is an optical phenomenon common to the polar regions of the Earth as draping of fast moving colored lights in the sky. It is formed as a result of the interaction of charged particles from the solar wind with magnetosphere. The most powerful auroras in the solar system are observed on Jupiter. The study suggests that this type of phenomena, with greater power is a characteristic of brown dwarfs.

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Department of Astronomy, Faculty of Physics, 5 "James Bourchier" Blvd., 1164 Sofia, Bulgaria