Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Noting the weather patterns of a brown dwarf

Hubble space telescopes and NASA's Spitzer investigated the stormy atmosphere of a brown dwarf called 2MASSJ22282889-431 026, creating the "climate map" far closer to this kind of cold orbs similar to stars. The forecast shows clouds planet-sized wind-driven involving these strange worlds.

Brown dwarfs are formed from the condensation of gas, as do the stars,but lack the necessary amount of mass to fuse atoms and energy.

Instead, these objects, which some call "failed stars", are more similar to gas planets with atmospheres complex and varied. The new research is a soar toward a better understanding not only of brown dwarfs, but also of the atmospheres of planets away from the solar system.

Hubble and Spitzer observed simultaneously as the light of the brown dwarf varied over time, increasing and decreasing luminosity each about 90 minutes as the body rotates. The astronomers found that the time change occurred depended brightness when observed using different wavelengths of infrared light. The changes are the result of different layers of material swirling in the brown dwarf in windstorms as large as the Earth itself. Spitzer and Hubble are different atmospheric layers because certain wavelengths are blocked by water steam and methane at high altitude, while other infrared wavelengths emerging from much deeper layers.

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