NASA Telescopes Spot Jupiter-Like Storm On Diminutive Star

Posted: Dec 11 2015, 4:36am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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NASA Telescopes spot Jupiter-Like Storm on Diminutive Star
This illustration shows a cool star, called W1906+40, marked by a raging storm near one of its poles. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
  • NASA Telescopes spot a Storm resembling Jupiter on a Diminutive Star

NASA telescopes have spotted a storm resembling Jupiter on a diminutive star.

Astronomers from NASA have found a tiny star in the depths of space that seems to have a storm occurring on its surface. The giant cloudy storm resembles Jupiter’s stormy weather.

This star was observed via NASA’s Spitzer and Kepler telescopes. It looks very much like Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. This Great Red Spot consists of a large storm that is in full swing and it is larger than the whole of the earth.

The star is about the size of Jupiter. And the storm raging on its surface is the same size as Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. "The star is the size of Jupiter, and its storm is the size of Jupiter's Great Red Spot," said John Gizis of the University of Delaware, Newark.

"We know this newfound storm has lasted at least two years, and probably longer." Gizis is the lead author of a new study appearing in The Astrophysical Journal.

The storm has probably lasted for longer than two years on the star. Although planets normally do have storms raging on their surfaces, this is the first time that a star has been shown to have one. The star is W1906+40 and it belongs to a long list of cool stars known as L-dwarves.

These are actually stars since they fuse atoms and create light in the process in a similar manner as the sun. There are other examples known as brown dwarves which are also called failed stars since they don’t undergo atomic fusion.

This L-dwarf is a star based upon its age. It has heat levels which go up to 3500 degrees centigrade. While this is very hot, when it is compared to other stars, it seems relatively cool.

There are even clouds in its atmosphere. These clouds are composed of tiny minerals. The Spitzer telescope has observed cloudy brown dwarves before.

These have storms on their surfaces that last a few hours to days. Changes in the milieu of this star have been studied for a period of two years. This star had been discovered in 2011. It was observed via the Kepler telescope as well.

The Kepler telescope identifies planets by seeing dips in starlight. Star spots could also cause dips in starlight though. After Kepler, further observations via the Spitzer telescope showed infra-red light.

The cloudy storm on the star could hold three earths within its epicenter. This storm undergoes rotation every 9 hours. Different layers of the storm were also revealed.

Future observations using the Spitzer and Kepler telescopes will be made as well. The two telescopes are under the custody of NASA and they will serve it well in its astronomical peregrinations around the universe.

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