Astronomers have found many types of objects in orbit around stars. These range from other full-sized stars like our sun (binary star systems) to Jupiter sized planets (never directly imaged but inferred from radial-velocity spectroscopy). The relative sizes of these various types of bodies are shown above for comparison. Even though a brown dwarf can be similar in diameter to a Jupiter sized planet, brown dwarfs are 13-75 times more massive and they can appear on the order of 100-1,000,000 times brighter than a Jupiter sized planet at infrared wavelengths where they are studied with telescopes.

Credit: Gemini Observatory/Artwork by Jon Lomberg