Stormy with a Chance of Molten Iron Rain: First Ever Map of Exotic Weather on Brown Dwarfs
Think the weather is nasty this winter here on Earth? Try vacationing on the brown dwarf Luhman 16B sometime.
Two studies out this week from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy based at Heidelberg, Germany offer the first look at the atmospheric features of a brown dwarf.
A brown dwarf is a substellar object which bridges the gap between at high mass planet at over 13 Jupiter masses, and a low mass red dwarf star at above 75 Jupiter masses. To date, few brown dwarfs have been directly imaged. For the study, researchers used the recently discovered brown dwarf pair Luhman 16A & B. At about 45(A) and 40(B) Jupiter masses, the pair is 6.5 light years distant and located in the constellation Vela. Only Alpha Centauri and Barnard’s Star are closer to Earth. Luhman A is an L-type brown dwarf, while the B component is a T-type substellar object.