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Today’s forecast? Gusty winds on a brown dwarf

2 Jul 2020, 17:21 UTC
Today’s forecast? Gusty winds on a brown dwarf
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Title: A measurement of the wind speed on a brown dwarfAuthors: Katelyn. N. Allers, Johanna M. Vos, Beth A. Biller, Peter K. G. WilliamsFirst Author’s Institution: Department of Physics and Astronomy, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837-2029, USAStatus: Published in Science [closed access]If someone tells you to imagine Jupiter, I’d bet the image that comes to mind is a circle with orange-ish yellow stripes and a big red spot. Those stripes that we’ve seen since elementary school science classes are latitudinally-banded clouds, all rotating around the planet’s gaseous atmosphere. Jupiter, and other gas giant planets, have these banded clouds flowing around the planet in zonal winds (that is, along latitudinal lines), and astronomers think that brown dwarfs should have them, too. Brown dwarfs are objects between the size of a giant planet and a star; they’re very cool since they aren’t massive enough to start typical fusion, but they sometimes can fuse deuterium or lithium. They’re particularly interesting for atmosphere studies since they’re like a “bridge” between stellar physics and planetary physics! Atmospheric models suggest these clouds arise based on differences in how regions of the atmosphere cool and how the atmosphere couples to the interior of the gas giant or ...

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