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Brown dwarf discovered nearby!


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#1 Rhea

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Posted 27 January 2003 - 06:06 PM

Christopher, on Jan. 25 2003,20:48, said:

Here's the link:

http://www.eso.org/o...3/pr-01-03.html

This is great news, that a brown dwarf has been found so close to our star system.  It means that future generations of telescopes should be able to study it in considerable detail -- and maybe someday we'll send an interstellar probe out that way.
:cool: Cool!

Rhea the ever-ignorant is still trying to understand why they're called "failed stars," though.

Can you explain in laymen's terms?? :lilsmile:

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#2 Christopher

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Posted 25 January 2003 - 03:48 PM

Here's the link:

http://www.eso.org/o...3/pr-01-03.html

This is great news, that a brown dwarf has been found so close to our star system.  It means that future generations of telescopes should be able to study it in considerable detail -- and maybe someday we'll send an interstellar probe out that way.

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#3 Anakam

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Posted 27 January 2003 - 06:19 PM

^
It's been a bit and there's a lot going on, but I can try..

Real briefly... a star needs a certain mass to initiate the fusion reaction.  I think it's about .10 solar masses, or maybe .08 solar masses.  I'm not sure.  Anyway, a brown dwarf is *almost* there.... but not quite... and they still have sorta star-like characteristics like a large gravitational pull and (I think) their own heat emissions.

I'm sure this isn't quite accurate.... but it felt good to explain something about one of my favorite subjects.  So there. :D

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#4 Kevin Street

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Posted 29 January 2003 - 03:05 AM

So cool!!!  :cool:  :cool:

Thanks for the link, Christopher!

Quote

...a star needs a certain mass to initiate the fusion reaction.  I think it's about .10 solar masses, or maybe .08 solar masses.

That's close. It's about .075 solar masses, according to the article linked above. Or 75 Jupiters, to put it another way. Without all that mass pushing nuclei together, electostatic repulsion will keep the atoms safely apart. But when there's enough heat and pressure to overcome the potential barrier, quantum effects like tunneling start to happen and the strong force takes over. Then it's kaboom!

Brown Dwarfs are big and hot (at least at first), but they mostly emit radiation at the lower energy infrared end of the spectrum, and not visible light.

That article is very interesting. Up to 100 brown dwarfs in our local neighbourhood! And they can have planets too...  :cool:

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#5 Anakam

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Posted 29 January 2003 - 05:15 PM

Ah, okay, thanks.... :) the textbook might have rounded it... or they might have changed the limit since the textbooks I use as reference were published.
Sailing free, boundless glimmer, golden whispers, fiery poise, delicate balance, grave and true, bound by earth, feared horizons, courageous steps unknown, shimmering future hidden yet unveiled....

I think you're the first female cast member to *insist* on playing a guy ;) - Iolanthe, on my cross-casting obsession.

This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle, this earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, this other Eden, demi-paradise, this fortress built by Nature for herself... - John of Gaunt, Act II, Scene I, Richard II

"I think perhaps that was a sub-optimal phrasing for the maintenance of harmony within the collective." - Omega, here

"Courtesy is how we got civilized. The blind assertion of rights is what threatens to decivilize us. Everybody's got lots of rights that are set out legally. Responsibilities are not enumerated, for good reason, but they are set into the social fabric. Is it such a sacrifice to not be an a**hole?" - Jenny Smith on Usenet, via Jid, via Kathy

#6 JadziaDax

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Posted 29 January 2003 - 06:38 PM

This is so neat!

I wish that they found out when I was still taking Astronomy.....

...but it's still cool :)

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#7 Kevin Street

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Posted 29 January 2003 - 07:02 PM

Anakam, on Jan. 29 2003,15:15, said:

Ah, okay, thanks.... :) the textbook might have rounded it... or they might have changed the limit since the textbooks I use as reference were published.
Sorry, Anakam. Your textbooks are probably right. I was just so intrigued by the web page that I slipped into lecture mode.  :blush:

Apologies if I offended.

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#8 aurora7

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Posted 30 January 2003 - 05:14 PM

I just started reading a novel that has as its main premise an interstellar civilization - the Cycler Compact - based around brown dwarfs.  The book is Permanence by Karl Schroeder (also wrote Ventus).  Schroeder posits that brown dwarfs are much more common than Lit stars, and serve as more reachable stepping stones for a non-FTL civilization.

Oh, and BTW, first post on this board.   :)


#9 sierraleone

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Posted 15 February 2003 - 06:27 PM

^ cool :)
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#10 Anakam

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Posted 15 February 2003 - 06:30 PM

Kevin Street, on Jan. 30 2003,00:02, said:

Anakam, on Jan. 29 2003,15:15, said:

Ah, okay, thanks.... :) the textbook might have rounded it... or they might have changed the limit since the textbooks I use as reference were published.
Sorry, Anakam. Your textbooks are probably right. I was just so intrigued by the web page that I slipped into lecture mode.  :blush:

Apologies if I offended.
{{{{{{Kevin}}}}}} :) :) You didn't offend at all--and I do know that textbooks (especially at the high school/undergrad level) have a habit of getting stuff just slightly inaccurate, either because the total accuracy wouldn't really be important or because the data that would make it more accurate hasn't been published yet.

And I *love* lecture mode when it comes to astronomy.... :D :D

Sailing free, boundless glimmer, golden whispers, fiery poise, delicate balance, grave and true, bound by earth, feared horizons, courageous steps unknown, shimmering future hidden yet unveiled....

I think you're the first female cast member to *insist* on playing a guy ;) - Iolanthe, on my cross-casting obsession.

This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle, this earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, this other Eden, demi-paradise, this fortress built by Nature for herself... - John of Gaunt, Act II, Scene I, Richard II

"I think perhaps that was a sub-optimal phrasing for the maintenance of harmony within the collective." - Omega, here

"Courtesy is how we got civilized. The blind assertion of rights is what threatens to decivilize us. Everybody's got lots of rights that are set out legally. Responsibilities are not enumerated, for good reason, but they are set into the social fabric. Is it such a sacrifice to not be an a**hole?" - Jenny Smith on Usenet, via Jid, via Kathy


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