Friday, January 31, 2014


Imagine instead of rain falling from the sky you had molten iron hitting all around you.

6.5 light years from Earth we find the nearest Brown Dwarf to Earth, Luhman 16B.

What is a Brown Dwarf? A Brown Dwarf is a rather large object – larger than gas planets such as Jupiter but too small to achieve the cycle of nuclear fusion needed to make it as a true star. Contrary to the name, Brown Dwarf is no indication of the star’s coloration. In fact other names are being considered from substar to planetar.

To go into more detail, a Brown Dwarf has to low of a mass to sustain hydrogen-1 fusion reactions in their core (as opposed to a main-sequence star) and occupy masses between that of the heaviest gas giant to as much as almost 80 Jupiter masses. Those that have masses near 13 times that of Jupiter are believed to fuse Deuterium whereas those nearer to 65 Jupiter Masses fuse lithium as well. Below is a surface map of Luhman 16B.

Back to the weather; apparently Luhman 16B’s surface is covered with clouds from a gaseous phase of iron as well as other minerals. This results in the surface being blasted with molten iron. It stands to reason that the temperatures resemble references to hell as they hover around 1100 C (1000 F)

Often thought to be the case, that these Brown Dwarfs had such awful weather, scientists are now able to start mapping them. Awesome is the fact that new generation telescopes are entering use every day.

Something that requires noting is these scientists or Space Weathermen of sorts do not face the angry throngs if the weather is a few degrees off. Of course if you have molten iron falling on you, a few degrees is not likely to matter!

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