Giant Storms on Brown Dwarfs

    Published: 06-16-2009
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    NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope reveals the likely presence of giant storms, similar to the “Great Red Spot” on Jupiter, on most brown dwarf stars.

    New findings using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope found that most brown dwarf stars could have cloud cover and storms.  Brown dwarfs are kind of like a cross between a Jupiter-sized gas planet and a star, lacking the mass to fuse atoms to become a full-fledged star.  Astronomers think the brightness variation they can observe by the telescope, as the stars spins, are signs of patchiness in the cloud cover.  They say these cloudy regions take the form of torrential storms, which could include winds, lightning and rain.  But these aren’t just rain clouds; they say these clouds could be made up of hot sand, molten iron or salt.