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Scientists create brown dwarf weather map


Posted on Thursday, 30 January, 2014 | Comment icon 7 comments

Conditions on the star are thought to be hellish. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The weather conditions found on a brown dwarf 6.5 light years away have been mapped for the first time.
Brown dwarfs are an unusual class of star that are larger than gas giant planets such as Jupiter but too small for a nuclear fusion cycle to be sustained. Far cooler than main-sequence stars like our sun, the surface conditions on these enigmatic worlds are nonetheless some of the most hellish seen anywhere in the universe.

Now for the first time scientists have used a technique known as Doppler imaging to produce a map of the weather likely to be experienced by someone visiting Luhman 16B, the closest known brown dwarf star.

The results suggest that the surface of this distant world is subjected to temperatures of up to 1,100C while molten iron rain cascades from gaseous metallic clouds high above.

The grim conditions are so bad in fact that Luhman 16B is now considered to be a contender for the "worst weather in the universe".

Source: Independent | Comments (7)

Tags: Brown Dwarf

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 29 January, 2014, 23:47
Artist's impression of Luhman 16B recreated from VLT observationsThis video sequence is an artist's impression based on the first ever map of the weather on the surface of the nearest brown dwarf to Earth. An international team used ESO's Very Large Telescope to make a chart of the dark and light features on WISE J104915.57-531906.1B, which is informally known as Luhman 16B and is one of two recently discovered brown dwarfs forming a pair only six light-years from the Sun. Luhman 16A appears in the background in this sequence.Note that the faint fine detail on the surface of Luhman 16B has bee... [More]
Comment icon #2 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 29 January, 2014, 23:50
Surface map of Luhman 16B recreated from VLT observationsThis video shows the first ever map of the weather on the surface of the nearest brown dwarf to Earth. An international team has used ESO's Very Large Telescope to create a chart of the dark and light features on WISE J104915.57-531906.1B, which is informally known as Luhman 16B and is one of two recently discovered brown dwarfs forming a pair only six light-years from the Sun.This video shows the object as it rotates on its axis.Credit: ESO/I. CrossfieldSource: ESO Observatory
Comment icon #3 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 29 January, 2014, 23:59
Zooming in on the nearby brown dwarf Luhman 16BThis video starts with a broad view of the entire sky and closes in on the southern constellation of Vela (The Sails). In the final sequence, among huge numbers of faint stars, a very faint double object appears. This is WISE J104915.57-531906.1AB, which is informally known as Luhman 16AB. It is a recently discovered pair of brown dwarfs only six light-years from the Sun.Credit: ESO/I. Crossfield/N. Risinger (skysurvey.org)/Digitized Sky Survey 2Music: movetwoSource: ESO Observatory
Comment icon #4 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 30 January, 2014, 0:01
Flying among the closest stars to the Solar SystemThis video takes you on a fly-through of the space around the nearest stars to the Sun. Some familiar stars are visible, such as Alpha Centauri, Sirius and Barnard's Star, but there is also a faint object only discovered in early 2013 this is WISE J104915.57-531906.1AB, which is informally known as Luhman 16AB, a recently discovered pair of brown dwarfs only six light-years from the Sun. It is the third closest system to the Solar System.Credit: ESO/I. Crossfield/N. Risinger (skysurvey.org)Source: ESO Observatory
Comment icon #5 Posted by Calibeliever on 30 January, 2014, 15:26
Nice vids, especially the last one. Really gives you some perspective.
Comment icon #6 Posted by HecticSherlock on 30 January, 2014, 19:44
Interesting indeed!
Comment icon #7 Posted by Merc14 on 30 January, 2014, 22:03
Great stuff thanks!


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