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(Slate)   Say hello to my faint, cool, little friends: Astronomers discover third closest star system just six light years away   (slate.com) divider line 108
    More: Cool, light-years, Alpha Centauri, Atomic Nucleus, NASA's Wide, failed star, Binary Star, metallicity, dwarf star  
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9330 clicks; posted to Main » on 11 Mar 2013 at 1:43 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-03-11 12:34:31 PM
Hello, brown dwarf, my old friend. I've come to talk with you again...
 
2013-03-11 01:06:08 PM
so how many brown dwarfs are there?
we have detected little or none of them.
what percentage of the galaxy do they make up?

do they make up close to enough of the needed mass to explain the rotation of the galaxy?
 
2013-03-11 01:10:00 PM
NASA's WISE mission has detected 200 new brown dwarfs.[25] There are actually fewer brown dwarfs in our cosmic neighborhood than previously thought. Rather than one star for every brown dwarf, there may be as many as six stars for every brown dwarf.[25]

Or we have only detected 1/6th of the brown dwarfs. Or 1/10th. Or 1/100th.
Stupid science. It will be interesting to watch the estimate of the number of brown dwarfs change as we build better and better detectors.
 
2013-03-11 01:52:37 PM
If it's brown, flush it down.

If it's yellow, support a fellow.
 
2013-03-11 01:54:17 PM
i212.photobucket.com

Brown dwarfs are one of the most fascinating things out there, at least to me. Too small to be a star, too big to be a planet, I wonder where they really fall on a percentage of mass of the galaxy. I would think that they are more numerous than the stars themselves. I bet we have a brown dwarf closer to us than Alpha Centauri.

/Also, Bad Astronomer should change his Fark login to Badass Astronomer.
 
2013-03-11 01:57:27 PM
6 light years?  Might as well be 6 billion light years.  We're never getting off this rock to make that kind of voyage.  EVER.
 
2013-03-11 02:01:29 PM

Lt. Cheese Weasel: 6 light years?  Might as well be 6 billion light years.  We're never getting off this rock to make that kind of voyage.  EVER.


Well we're a contrarian bunch- now that some asshat went and said that we couldn't do it some other asshat will go and prove him wrong.

Personally I'm ok with this.

/zero g sex.
 
2013-03-11 02:05:31 PM

Lt. Cheese Weasel: 6 light years?  Might as well be 6 billion light years.  We're never getting off this rock to make that kind of voyage.  EVER.


While it does indeed look bleak right now, who knows what will happen in the next 20 to 100 years? I'm not giving up yet especially because private companies are now capable of space flight.
 
2013-03-11 02:17:00 PM

Lt. Cheese Weasel: 6 light years?  Might as well be 6 billion light years.  We're never getting off this rock to make that kind of voyage.  EVER.


Oh c'mon mankind its only 6 light years away.  If you can't pay attention to local affairs then I have no sympathy for you.

..Power up the destructor beams
 
2013-03-11 02:18:45 PM

SnarfVader: Lt. Cheese Weasel: 6 light years?  Might as well be 6 billion light years.  We're never getting off this rock to make that kind of voyage.  EVER.

While it does indeed look bleak right now, who knows what will happen in the next 100 to 1000 years? I'm not giving up yet especially because private companies are now capable of space flight.


Our technology today is several orders of magnitude more advanced than it was 1000, 100 or even 10 years ago.  Give humanity another 1000 years without some sort of global catastrophe and it's really impossible to even imagine what our technology will be like.
 
2013-03-11 02:21:06 PM

SnarfVader: [i212.photobucket.com image 638x479]

Brown dwarfs are one of the most fascinating things out there, at least to me. Too small to be a star, too big to be a planet, I wonder where they really fall on a percentage of mass of the galaxy. I would think that they are more numerous than the stars themselves. I bet we have a brown dwarf closer to us than Alpha Centauri.

/Also, Bad Astronomer should change his Fark login to Badass Astronomer.


Get out. Plait is a Farker?!

/I was excited about Teide 1 and giggled like a little girl at its discovery
//give anything to live long enough to see an actual image of one...
 
2013-03-11 02:22:26 PM
Is there any chance that this pair could merge? If so what might be the result? Would there be a super nova lite?
Cool stuff.

/2nd the Badass Astronomer handle
 
2013-03-11 02:25:50 PM

unchellmatt: SnarfVader: Also, Bad Astronomer should change his Fark login to Badass Astronomer.

Get out. Plait is a Farker?!


Not only that, but he routinely posts in threads linked to his blog.

In fact...yo Phil, any thoughts on the collective mass of brown dwarfs? Can they explain the 'missing mass' question?
 
2013-03-11 02:27:58 PM
All I know is I try to visit the brown dwarf stars early on because they have a higher % chance of turning out a special of some sort.  Getting a good ship leader or colony leader turn 10 or so can make a huge difference.
/Positronic Supercomputer FTW
 
2013-03-11 02:28:22 PM

mutterfark: Is there any chance that this pair could merge? If so what might be the result? Would there be a super nova lite?
Cool stuff.

/2nd the Badass Astronomer handle


I doubt it; brown dwarfs only get up to about 75-80 Jupiter masses, so a pair of them combined would only be about .075 solar masses.
 
2013-03-11 02:28:57 PM

qorkfiend: mutterfark: Is there any chance that this pair could merge? If so what might be the result? Would there be a super nova lite?
Cool stuff.

/2nd the Badass Astronomer handle

I doubt it; brown dwarfs only get up to about 75-80 Jupiter masses, so a pair of them combined would only be about .075 solar masses.


Sorry; 0.15 solar masses.
 
2013-03-11 02:31:44 PM

Darth_Lukecash: KellyX: What would happen if we mated Lt. Cheese Weasel with Quantum Apostrophe?

Why in Corpernicus Orbit, would you even ask that question?

My question is this, were brown stars ever a normal star? Or do all stars go the black hole route?


I dunno, I figure if we merged them we'd have be able to create a luddite fusion that would be like an imploded super nova of negative energy and cause the world to travel backwards in time to caveman era where they're much more comfortable.
 
2013-03-11 02:35:11 PM

qorkfiend: qorkfiend: mutterfark: Is there any chance that this pair could merge? If so what might be the result? Would there be a super nova lite?
Cool stuff.

/2nd the Badass Astronomer handle

I doubt it; brown dwarfs only get up to about 75-80 Jupiter masses, so a pair of them combined would only be about .075 solar masses.

Sorry; 0.15 solar masses.


Yeah, but what's the lower end limit to having enough mass to support some kind of nuclear fusion? Obviously the resulting star would be a tiny fellow, but I just wonder what the effect here would be if even a small star lit up at only 6.5LY. Maybe nothing... I dunno. At the very least it would be seriously cool to behold- we'd have to learn SOMETHING from it, and better to learn something than nothing (assuming the thing you learn isn't an addition to "extinction level events on the planet Earth").

So yeah, Plait... time to answer some questions for your Farker brethren here.
 
2013-03-11 02:37:17 PM

qorkfiend: mutterfark: Is there any chance that this pair could merge? If so what might be the result? Would there be a super nova lite?
Cool stuff.

/2nd the Badass Astronomer handle

I doubt it; brown dwarfs only get up to about 75-80 Jupiter masses, so a pair of them combined would only be about .075 solar masses.


Regardless, I don't think they're that close together anyhow are they??
 
2013-03-11 02:44:54 PM

akula: qorkfiend: qorkfiend: mutterfark: Is there any chance that this pair could merge? If so what might be the result? Would there be a super nova lite?
Cool stuff.

/2nd the Badass Astronomer handle

I doubt it; brown dwarfs only get up to about 75-80 Jupiter masses, so a pair of them combined would only be about .075 solar masses.

Sorry; 0.15 solar masses.

Yeah, but what's the lower end limit to having enough mass to support some kind of nuclear fusion? Obviously the resulting star would be a tiny fellow, but I just wonder what the effect here would be if even a small star lit up at only 6.5LY. Maybe nothing... I dunno. At the very least it would be seriously cool to behold- we'd have to learn SOMETHING from it, and better to learn something than nothing (assuming the thing you learn isn't an addition to "extinction level events on the planet Earth").

So yeah, Plait... time to answer some questions for your Farker brethren here.


Ah, a good point. I think the lower limit for hydrogen fusion is only about .08 solar masses, so if they've got enough hydrogen in them they could very well begin fusing hydrogen.
 
2013-03-11 02:45:13 PM

qorkfiend: mutterfark: Is there any chance that this pair could merge? If so what might be the result? Would there be a super nova lite?
Cool stuff.

/2nd the Badass Astronomer handle

I doubt it; brown dwarfs only get up to about 75-80 Jupiter masses, so a pair of them combined would only be about .075 solar masses.


Can you convert these units into either "Rhode Islands" or "Adeles?"

The internet has rendered me unable to comprehend other units of measurement.
 
2013-03-11 02:46:07 PM
So any planet that orbits a brown dwarf would have to be relatively close to be habitable, but aren't most of the extra-solar planets we've detected relatively close to their primaries?

Or is that just sampling bias because it's easier to detect planets that are in close?
 
2013-03-11 02:54:05 PM
qorkfiend:
I doubt it; brown dwarfs only get up to about 75-80 Jupiter masses, so a pair of them combined would only be about .075 solar masses.

Sorry; 0.15 solar masses.


After reading your reply I went looking for more information and see your number is the extreme high end of possible mass. And as KellyX mentions, these two may be too far apart to ever merge.
Still a cool thing to speculate on.
 
2013-03-11 03:05:18 PM

namatad: so how many brown dwarfs are there?
we have detected little or none of them.
what percentage of the galaxy do they make up?

do they make up close to enough of the needed mass to explain the rotation of the galaxy?



Similarly,  why didn't we know about their ethnicity beforehand?  Or is it like their women, who are hard to distinguish from men and do not travel much?
 
2013-03-11 03:31:59 PM
Wait, it's a binary star system?

FARK PARTY MOS EISLEY CANTINA 2023
 
2013-03-11 03:37:44 PM

SmackLT: Wait, it's a binary star system?

FARK PARTY MOS EISLEY CANTINA 2023


Now we just have to convince 4chan and Reddit to occupy different planets, then unveil the true power of an armed and fully operational FarkStar.
 
2013-03-11 03:40:12 PM

Stone Meadow: In fact...yo Phil, any thoughts on the collective mass of brown dwarfs? Can they explain the 'missing mass' question?


Looks like the answer is a qualified "no". BW's "rival the number of stars in the galaxy", but that only would add up to about a thousandth of the observable mass. Nowhere near enough to make a significant dent in the 'missing mass'.

Oh well...
 
2013-03-11 03:47:19 PM
I think they ought to name one Star 'Gary' and the other 'Coleman'
 
2013-03-11 03:49:28 PM

DeathByGeekSquad: SmackLT: Wait, it's a binary star system?

FARK PARTY MOS EISLEY CANTINA 2023

Now we just have to convince 4chan and Reddit to occupy different planets, then unveil the true power of an armed and fully operational FarkStar.


I like how you think
 
2013-03-11 04:07:38 PM

Kimpak: Lt. Cheese Weasel: 6 light years?  Might as well be 6 billion light years.  We're never getting off this rock to make that kind of voyage.  EVER.

Oh c'mon mankind its only 6 light years away.  If you can't pay attention to local affairs then I have no sympathy for you.

..Power up the destructor beams


As today would have been Douglas Adams' birthday: thank you, you hoopy frood.

i.imgur.com
 
2013-03-11 04:18:41 PM
What a brown dwarf may look like...
i126.photobucket.com
 
2013-03-11 04:21:52 PM
So if we have the technology to readily detect brown dwarfs, does that mean we will soon have a yay or nay on the Nemesis hypothesis?
 
2013-03-11 04:22:17 PM
I think it's high time that astronomers agreed on a definition for Brown Dwarf. The common "Bigger than a planet, not big enough to be a star" mentioned in the article isn't really specific.

I like the definition that some astronomers use but isn't yet universal: A Brown Dwarf is a type of object composed primarily of hydrogen, that is large enough for deuterium to fuse, but not large enough for hydrogen to fuse.

Which makes me ask the question: Is this brown dwarf large enough for deuterium to fuse?
 
2013-03-11 04:24:13 PM

StrangeQ: SnarfVader: Lt. Cheese Weasel: 6 light years?  Might as well be 6 billion light years.  We're never getting off this rock to make that kind of voyage.  EVER.

While it does indeed look bleak right now, who knows what will happen in the next 100 to 1000 years? I'm not giving up yet especially because private companies are now capable of space flight.

Our technology today is several orders of magnitude more advanced than it was 1000, 100 or even 10 years ago.  Give humanity another 1000 years without some sort of global catastrophe and it's really impossible to even imagine what our technology will be like.


Corporations
In
Space
 
2013-03-11 04:33:17 PM

Lt. Cheese Weasel: 6 light years?  Might as well be 6 billion light years.  We're never getting off this rock to make that kind of voyage.  EVER.


That's right. Unless you have some magical technology and some fantasy physics tucked in your tickle trunk, we ain't going nowhere. The best you can hope for is life extension so that you'll actually live long enough for our actual technology to get there. 25000 years should do it.
/Do you seriously not comprehend the scales involved here?
 
2013-03-11 04:33:23 PM

SnarfVader: [i212.photobucket.com image 638x479]

Brown dwarfs are one of the most fascinating things out there, at least to me.


Personally, I loved him in Diff'rent Strokes.

/whachoo talkin bout willis
 
2013-03-11 04:33:49 PM
Here's a question. How often do these things collide and merge to form stars?
 
2013-03-11 04:34:00 PM
I will assume our nation's border fence is twice as effective against brown dwarfs and thus sleep soundly tonight.
 
2013-03-11 04:35:30 PM

MBooda: SnarfVader: [i212.photobucket.com image 638x479]

Brown dwarfs are one of the most fascinating things out there, at least to me.

Personally, I loved him in Diff'rent Strokes.

/whachoo talkin bout willis


We're naming this BD Arnold?
 
2013-03-11 04:37:58 PM

RedVentrue: MBooda: SnarfVader: [i212.photobucket.com image 638x479]

Brown dwarfs are one of the most fascinating things out there, at least to me.

Personally, I loved him in Diff'rent Strokes.

/whachoo talkin bout willis

We're naming this BD Arnold?


So, will people living on the planet Arnold-1 call our star "The Gooch?"
 
2013-03-11 04:42:30 PM

akula: Yeah, but what's the lower end limit to having enough mass to support some kind of nuclear fusion? Obviously the resulting star would be a tiny fellow, but I just wonder what the effect here would be if even a small star lit up at only 6.5LY. Maybe nothing... I dunno. At the very least it would be seriously cool to behold- we'd have to learn SOMETHING from it, and better to learn something than nothing (assuming the thing you learn isn't an addition to "extinction level events on the planet Earth").


Brown Dwarfs are thought to have fusion, just not Hydrogen 1 fusion as in main sequence stars.  The current speculation is that brown dwarfs from ~13 Mj (Jupiter masses)-65 Mj fuse deuterium, and those from 65-75 may also fuse lithium.  Anything under ~13Mj is a sub-brown dwarf and isn't at the limiting mass to fuse deuterium, but there's isn't a consensus as to when an object in that size range is a sub-brown dwarf vs a gas giant planet.
   Above 75-80 Mj you start fusing Hydrogen 1 and you have a Red dwarf, which is the lowest level of main sequence star, and the most common in our section of the galaxy.
 
2013-03-11 04:48:49 PM

StrangeQ: Our technology today is several orders of magnitude more advanced than it was 1000, 100 or even 10 years ago.  Give humanity another 1000 years without some sort of global catastrophe and it's really impossible to even imagine what our technology will be like.


That's the kicker. We can't even prevent ourselves from starting pointless wars or starving our own populations over greed, not sure how we're gonna not blow up the planet because of it.

Amazing at how much control people have over another is based on religion and religion claims to be so anti-greed.
 
2013-03-11 05:01:19 PM
I wanna find a brown dwarf that's just shy of the mass for sustained fusion and then nuke it.  Just to see the fireworks.
 
2013-03-11 05:03:57 PM

zarberg: StrangeQ: Our technology today is several orders of magnitude more advanced than it was 1000, 100 or even 10 years ago.  Give humanity another 1000 years without some sort of global catastrophe and it's really impossible to even imagine what our technology will be like.

That's the kicker. We can't even prevent ourselves from starting pointless wars or starving our own populations over greed, not sure how we're gonna not blow up the planet because of it.

Amazing at how much control people have over another is based on religion and religion claims to be so anti-greed.


That reminds me that I meant to reply to StrangeQ: I was surfing the web this morning when I glanced at this article about quantum entanglement occurring at speeds at least "10,000 times the speed of light". If that could be developed into a interstellar drive system, we could travel to the nearest stars in as little as less time than it currently takes to get to the moon (3 days in an Apollo). THAT's the kind of technological change we could conceivably see in the next 1000 years...or less.

/would love to live long enough to see that happen
 
2013-03-11 05:04:50 PM
I read that as, "Say hello to my taint, cool little friends."

/Brown dwarf, indeed
 
2013-03-11 05:06:08 PM

elchupacabra: I wanna find a brown dwarf that's just shy of the mass for sustained fusion and then nuke it.  Just to see the fireworks.


Dunno what you think is going to happen. Explode an almost-star, or start the fusion? If you want to start fusion, just drop matter into it, no "nuke" necessary. (Assuming in our scenario humanity is capable of moving 'Jupiter'-equivalent masses several light years just for lulz)
 
2013-03-11 05:11:09 PM

StopLurkListen: elchupacabra: I wanna find a brown dwarf that's just shy of the mass for sustained fusion and then nuke it.  Just to see the fireworks.

Dunno what you think is going to happen. Explode an almost-star, or start the fusion? If you want to start fusion, just drop matter into it, no "nuke" necessary. (Assuming in our scenario humanity is capable of moving 'Jupiter'-equivalent masses several light years just for lulz)


Nuking it would start fusion that would run out of steam as it would lack critical mass.  But it would last long enough for lulz.
 
2013-03-11 05:12:24 PM
I really want us to discover extraterrestrial life in my lifetime, but I'll settle for a man-made probe reaching another star system and sending back data. It'll let me know that mankind has a bit of hope for its future before I go.
 
2013-03-11 05:12:44 PM

Stone Meadow: zarberg: StrangeQ: Our technology today is several orders of magnitude more advanced than it was 1000, 100 or even 10 years ago.  Give humanity another 1000 years without some sort of global catastrophe and it's really impossible to even imagine what our technology will be like.

That's the kicker. We can't even prevent ourselves from starting pointless wars or starving our own populations over greed, not sure how we're gonna not blow up the planet because of it.

Amazing at how much control people have over another is based on religion and religion claims to be so anti-greed.

That reminds me that I meant to reply to StrangeQ: I was surfing the web this morning when I glanced at this article about quantum entanglement occurring at speeds at least "10,000 times the speed of light". If that could be developed into a interstellar drive system, we could travel to the nearest stars in as little as less time than it currently takes to get to the moon (3 days in an Apollo). THAT's the kind of technological change we could conceivably see in the next 1000 years...or less.

/would love to live long enough to see that happen


It's a trap though... at maximum speed, sure a drive system like that could get you to mars and back in 3 days.  Though, it may take you 6 months to a year to safely accelerate a human body to that speed without turning it into spaghetti sauce, and the same goes for slowing down once you get to your destination.  Mars may be too close actually for that sort of technology.  It's like the corner store 2 blocks away.  Car beats bike in speed and acceleration, but it's always going to be just as quick (if not quicker) and easier and cheaper to just ride your bike 2 blocks away than to fire up the car.
 
2013-03-11 05:14:25 PM

elchupacabra: I wanna find a brown dwarf that's just shy of the mass for sustained fusion and then nuke it.  Just to see the fireworks.


Team up with Malcolm McDowell.

/Ever notice that the rocket in that movie goes from launch to star in like ... 5 seconds?
 
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