paulmac84 writes "Stars that don't have enough mass never shine, dying billions of years before their bigger counterparts. But astronomers have never been able to measure the exact mass limit, because the lightest stars that do shine can be simply too faint to detect. Now, new images show for the first time how big a star must be to avoid impending doom. The long-awaited new images finally lay this question to rest, say the authors. The dimmest stars were measured as being 8.3% of the Sun's mass. All protostars that are smaller than this are headed for life as a brown dwarf."