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Published:January 13th, 2013 12:48 EST
NASA Monitoring Deep Space Weather

NASA Monitoring Deep Space Weather

By Ron G Anselm

"Stormy weather to us on this planet has the same feeling as a child feels when he or she can`t go outside to play in the rain but when stormy weather is found in the mysteries of space gives us the same felling of excitement as if we just felt a burst of happiness." (Anselm, R.)

I don`t know if you are like me; my brain is like a sponge always trying to absorb and suck up new information about everything and anything. I guess that`s why I am sort of a science buff because science is like the fuel for the imagination. The subject of science is always filled with liquid information that allows my brain or anyone`s to absorb and find out things I never knew before.

One tidbit of science information I recently found out is that there are various weather patterns that form in pace and inhibit certain stars known as Brown Dwarfs. You ask, What is a brown Dwarf?  A Brown Dwarf in astronomy form out of condensing gas, as stars do, but lack the mass to fuse hydrogen atoms and produce energy. Instead, these objects, which some call failed stars, are more similar to gas planets with their complex, varied atmospheres. The new research is a stepping stone toward a better understanding not only of brown dwarfs, but also of the atmospheres of planets beyond our solar system. (

NASA`s Spitzer and Hubble Space telescopes recently discovered a stormy atmosphere of one of the many Brown Dwarfs which has created sort of a weather map in space for Brown Dwarfs also known as a class of cool, star-like orbs. Scientist have been able to put together a forecast from this discovery which includes a wind-driven set of planet-sized clouds that frequent these strange entities that baffle scientist.

  Daniel Apai who is the principal investigator of the research at the University of Arizona in Tucson commented by saying, "With Hubble and Spitzer, we were able to look at different atmospheric layers of a brown dwarf, similar to the way doctors use medical imaging techniques to study the different tissues in your body." (Apai, D.)

The Brown Dwarf studied by NASA is also known as 2MASSJ22282889-431026. Scientist discovered when studying this Brown Dwarf that about every ninety minutes the light varied in time meaning that the light dimmed and then became brighter which also led scientists to the hypothesis that the timing of this light changed in brightness which depended on whether they were looking at it sing different wavelengths of infrared light.

Scientists were also able to discover the results of different layers or patches of space material which was swirling around the Brown Dwarf in wind storms which were determined to be about the size of Earth. To be able to successfully hone in on the atmospheric layers in and around the Brown Dwarf, scientists had to use various infrared wavelengths because other certain infrared wavelengths are blocked by vapors of water and methane high up in the atmosphere, while other infrared wavelengths e

Mark Marley who is the research scientist at NASA`s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California added some insight on this by saying, "Unlike the water clouds of Earth or the ammonia clouds of Jupiter. So this large atmospheric disturbance found by Spitzer and Hubble gives a new meaning to the concept of extreme weather." (Marley, M.)

Kind of leaves you wondering if these large weather disturbances in space have the same intensity as say an F-5 tornado or hurricane back here on this planet does. Adam Showman who is a theorist at the University of Arizona and is also involved in this research, added some more interesting facts on this, "What we see here is evidence for massive, organized cloud systems, perhaps akin to giant versions of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. These out-of-sync light variations provide a fingerprint of how the brown dwarf`s weather systems stack up vertically. The data suggest regions on the brown dwarf where the  weather is cloudy and rich in silicate vapor deep in the atmosphere coincide with balmier, drier conditions at higher altitudes " and vice versa." (Showman, A.)

Glenn Wahlgren who is Spitzer Program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. also chimed in and added, "From studies such as this we will learn much about this important class of objects, who`s mass falls between that of stars and Jupiter-sized planets. This technique will see extensive use when we are able to image individual exoplanets." (Wahlgren, G.)

All of this interesting information currently being studies by NASA should prove to give us a better understanding of weather in space. Any new discoveries of space weather can also prove to help s here on Earth in the realm of not only having a better understanding of how weather works beyond Earth but maybe a better understanding of how weather performs on this planet as-well.



Retrieved January 2013.


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