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Rogue Brown Dwarf Lurks In Our Cosmic Neighborhood

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the brown-dwarf-rogue-lurks-in-ironforge dept.

Space 188

astroengine writes "The UK Infrared Telescope in Hawaii has discovered a lone, cool brown dwarf called UGPSJ0722-05. As far as sub-stellar objects go, this is a strange one. For starters, it's the coolest brown dwarf ever discovered (and astronomers using the UKIRT should know; they are making a habit of finding cool brown dwarfs). Secondly, it's close. In fact, it's the closest brown dwarf to Earth, at a distance of only 10 light years. And thirdly, it has an odd spectroscopic signature, leading astronomers to think that this might be the discovery of a whole new class of brown dwarf."

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thats actually really close... (2, Interesting)

Coraon (1080675) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794318)

I believe at currently achievable theoretical speeds we might be able to make it there with like a robotic probe in 100 years or less!

Re:thats actually really close... (3, Insightful)

tmosley (996283) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794416)

You think we can send a probe an average of 1/10th C, including acceleration and slowdown?

Re:thats actually really close... (1)

Coraon (1080675) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794564)

a friend of mine who works with JPL, was talking with me and said that it was possible, but would take far more money then the well planet would be willing to spend, but apparently the science is there. now as for speed up and slow down, well I'll admit I didn't factor that in, the point is that its still going to take several lifetimes worth of time for this to matter.

Re:thats actually really close... (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794642)

I'd be curious to know what technology he is talking about. Do you think you could get the name(s) of whatever types of things he is thinking of for me? I'd like to do some further research.

Re:thats actually really close... (3, Informative)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794742)

Project Orion [wikipedia.org] is the only one I have ever heard of that claims such speeds.

Re:thats actually really close... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795248)

Light sail, etc. propulsion powered by beamed energy can have even greater speed than Orion (light sail doesn't have to carry it's own fuel) and be significantly cheaper. Plus the most expensive and massive part of infrastructure stays in the Solar System and can be used for more than one probe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_sail [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starwisp [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_sail [wikipedia.org]

I can see us doing such mission perhaps in lifetimes of some of us...

Re:thats actually really close... (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795744)

Why do people always bring up Orion? Medusa completely supercedes it in every way.

And anyway, that's just one of a plethora of high-ISP propulsion methods. Solar sails, various types of magnetic sails, various types of microfission and microfusion (both antimatter-initiated or otherwise), pure antimatter, various larger scale fusion designs, fission fragment (including a favorite of mine, the dusty plasma fission fragment rocket), nuclear saltwater, and on and on.

Re:thats actually really close... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795108)

Patience would work, too...Gliese 710 will be probably less than 1 light year away very soon.

At least, "very soon" in cosmological terms (a little over 1 million years iirc)

Re:thats actually really close... (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795224)

Orion/nuclear pulse propulsion would I think give around 0.04c at best using existing technology. If you got some sort of fussion working Project Daedalus was expected to give 0.12c.

A solar sail with some sort of laser/lens system in the solar system is also possible. Horribly inefficient and expensive given existing technology but I don't think it's theoretically impossible. This might give you something like 0.2c or more.

Nuclear salt-water rocket is another option but it only gives you 0.036c at best. Also, if you thought shoving nukes out the back with Orion was insane than this one is Cuthulu. It's basically a continuous nuclear explosion kept just outside the ship by continuously pumping fuel at it. Fun times.

All of these velocities are for a one way trip I should add.

Re:thats actually really close... (1)

nofx_3 (40519) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795620)

"A solar sail with some sort of laser/lens system in the solar system is also possible. Horribly inefficient and expensive given existing technology but I don't think it's theoretically impossible. This might give you something like 0.2c or more."

Yeah, but how do you stop?

Re:thats actually really close... (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795960)

I believe that one antimatter-initiated microfusion rocket design was also supposed to be able to get up into the 0.1c range while still providing good thrust. Fission fragment rockets might be another good possibility if they can get enough thrust.

Re:thats actually really close... (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794766)

I sort of doubt it. Building things is cheap (relatively). The $$$$ really comes in with R&D - aka figuring out how to do it in the first place. If we already knew how to do it then we would. If it's a matter of investing in R&D, then he's really just saying that he thinks it could be done, not that the tech already exists.

Re:thats actually really close... (2, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794900)

There is a big difference between the basic technology existing and a practical device using that technology existing. The Apollo project didn't cost $80 billion because the technology was revolutionary. It cost $80 billion because getting something that big to work properly is in itself a massive pain in the ass even if you have all the technology. Hell, just recreating the Apollo project would probably cost close to $80billion without blueprints and we already did it once before. Essentially it's an engineering problem rather than a scientific one.

Re:thats actually really close... (3, Interesting)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794644)

You think we can send a probe an average of 1/10th C, including acceleration and slowdown?

Theoretically possible using a nuclear power source and ion propulsion. Probably would be decades before we could practically do it, but the idea isn't outside the realm of possibility starting with existing technology...

It'd be a lot easier though to try this with Alpha Centauri though. It's only 4 light years away, not 10.

This is an interesting find though. Given the lack of planets or sign of the remnants of the formation of a star/planetary system I'd say this thing is definitely a rogue, that formed in another planetary system that was ejected by gravity. Brown dwarfs actually are able to do deuterium (lower mass ones) and even lithium fusion (higher mass ones) for a short period of time (100MY or so for the fuel to run out) but this one may be too small to have done either.

We certainly are going to discover a lot more of these as we get better and better instruments. They are likely very common, and we are likely to see the discovery of tons more brown dwarfs and very low mass red dwarfs in the coming decades. What is fascinating would be to know exactly where the line is between a very low mass red dwarf that can initiate and sustain core hydrogen fusion and a brown dwarf that either never starts core hydrogen fusion or cannot sustain it.

Re:thats actually really close... (2, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794750)

An ion engine? Hardly. BTW, the cheapest way for a long, long time will probably be a reaaally large space-based telescope somewhere far away to keep it nice and cold. Not cheap in absolute terms, but certainly cheaper than any kind of interstellar probe.

Re:thats actually really close... (1)

bramblez (862150) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795830)

Exactly what I was thinking, mod this up! Why take a closer look, when we could just look at the light coming from there?

Re:thats actually really close... (5, Funny)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794782)

Slowdown? We won't get military support that way, therefore no funding. We smash something into it at maximum speed and let the military gather transport and devastation metrics from a collision involving speeds never before recorded by human instruments.

Then the astronomers study the ejecta, the engineers review vehicle performance metrics, the doomsday prophets rework their asteroid impact models, the cosmologists continue to try to convince their mother-in-laws that they really are cosmologists despite not knowing anything about t-zones, foundation blending, manicuring, waxing.... and no, that doesn't mean they went to a bad 'school of cosmology.'

Re:thats actually really close... (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795864)

You jest, but any probe sent that far away is going on a one-way mission, anyway. So why not orbit it a bit and then smash into it and see what happens (presumably after jettisoning the sensor and communications package so we can send data back to earth)?

Re:thats actually really close... (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795958)

Then you'd have to decelerate, orbit, and accelerate again.

Re:thats actually really close... (2, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794936)

If we would really want to we can get rid of the slow down by simply performing a flyby. Who knows how acceptable the former would be of course, considering the limited science and that such mission wouldn't get funding very often...

Re:thats actually really close... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31795260)

Somebody mod him "insightful but doubtful".

A *LOT* of money would be saved by performing a flyby. This might be the only way it could be done. Not having to carry the fuel required to slow down cuts the cost by *more* than 50%.

Consider the Pioneer missions, Voyagers, and the current New Horizons, they're all flybys for one reason: it's cheaper to do a flyby. If you find something really interesting on the flyby, you can then justify funds for an expensive orbital mission.

Alternative tech like light sails might eventually change this, but for current, self fueled reaction drive technology, flybys are way cheaper than orbitals.

Re:thats actually really close... (1)

RMingin (985478) | more than 4 years ago | (#31796010)

At 0.1C, that'll be a HELL of a flyby. Anybody have enough napkins to figure out the gravity cone and slingshot distances for that speed? My math broke when I tried.

Re:thats actually really close... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31795122)

Who said anything about slowing down?

Re:thats actually really close... (1)

EdZ (755139) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795426)

No slowdown, but acceleration could be done with a Sundiver. Basically, you take your solar sail, drop it into an orbit that dips it almost to the surface of the sun, then deploy the sail. The combined solar wind and intense sunlight accelerate your probe up to some pretty impressive speeds.

Re:thats actually really close... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795954)

Absolutely, and we should..

Re:thats actually really close... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31794462)

I'll stay up late then and wait..

Re:thats actually really close... (2, Insightful)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794496)

To paraphrase Yogi Berra: In theory, currently achievable theoretical speeds are achievable. In reality, they aren't.

Re:thats actually really close... (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794842)

That's an awful lot of effort to go and visit failure

Re:thats actually really close... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795246)

Remember it's a one way trip for that probe. You'd want to make it epic.

Re:thats actually really close... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31795018)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helios_probes

I think today we could do better than this.

Re:thats actually really close... (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795300)

The fastest probe we've ever launched went about 1/1000 c, not 1/10c. You're off by two orders of magnitude.

If we had the ability to go that fast, we would already have a probe on its way to alpha proxima.

They probably.... (1, Funny)

ArcadeNut (85398) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794322)

Just need to clean their telescope!

Re:They probably.... (0, Offtopic)

ArcadeNut (85398) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794932)

Troll? Really??

It's called HUMOR... or at least a feeble attempt at it :)

Hmmm... (2, Funny)

chadplusplus (1432889) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794348)

Ten light years away... How far out does the Oort cloud extend? Its NEMESIS!!

Re:Hmmm... (2, Informative)

tmosley (996283) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794470)

1/3rd of a light year. The brown dwarf is about 2.5 times further than the nearest bright star, Alpha Centauri. Definitely not inside of the solar system, but well within our cosmic neighborhood.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794472)

Sorry, even the most extreme projections for the Oort cloud have it within three light years, and most put it a mere light year out. No Nemesis for you.

Re:Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31794922)

Come back one year!

Re:Hmmm... (4, Interesting)

chadplusplus (1432889) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794566)

Well, according to wikipedia, the largest estimates put the Oort cloud out at 3.6 light years, so this brown dwarf is probably too far away to perturb the Oort cloud, but as an aside observation: If the Sun's oort cloud is 3.5 light years in radius, and Proxima Centuari is only 4.2 light years away, and assuming Proxima Centuri has its own oort cloud (if it didn't get swept away by the gravitational interaction of the multiple stars), would our system's outer members and Proxima's outer members intermingle? IIRC, the Oort cloud objects aren't necessarily on the plane on the system.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

DrVxD (184537) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795184)

would our system's outer members and Proxima's outer members intermingle? IIRC, the Oort cloud objects aren't necessarily on the plane on the system.

Intermingling of members? That sounds like gay porn on a galactic scale!

Re:Hmmm... (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795566)

What if the Oort cloud is actually spread throughout entire known universe (ie, dark matter) What if the heliosheath, the magnetic/radiation field generated by our sun, is our effective "deflector shield" that keeps the solar system as serene as it is? We need to develop better instrumentation and send probes to be able to find this out (when we get data from one of the Voyagers that goes past the bow shock, we'll probably find out clearly).

Re:Hmmm... (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794634)

To fit the current Nemesis Theory it would need to be 2 light years or less.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795584)

Certainly not Nemesis; the concept of latter assumes that the "rogue companion" is gravitationally bound to the Solar System...indeed is part of the Solar System.

This new brown dwarf...we're just passing it.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

amazeofdeath (1102843) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795688)

So that's 10 light years in two years to arrive in time for causing the end of the world in 2012, quite a speed.

Water Vapor and Methane (1)

ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794350)

Are they saying this is thought to be the only brown dwarf (thus far) to have water vapor and methane due to its low temperature? Or are they saying this is the only brown dwarf close enough to detect such things?

Re:Water Vapor and Methane (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31794440)

They are saying they have found the coolest black dwarf so far. This has nothing to do with water vapor and methane.

This brown dwarf is just way cooler than Emmanuel Lewis.

Re:Water Vapor and Methane (1)

ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794624)

The fine article states that:

Using the Gemini Observatory, follow-up spectroscopic analysis has detected methane and water vapor in its atmosphere.

I must be new here.

Re:Water Vapor and Methane (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794876)

I must be new here.

You did just respond to an AC making a joke about an out of work actor.

Re:Water Vapor and Methane (2, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794810)

Neither. They're saying it's the only brown dwarf to, well, let me just quote them:

Oddly, when looking at the spectrum from UGPSJ0722-05, there is an anomalous absorption line (i.e. a particular wavelength in the electromagnetic spectrum that is missing) that cannot be explained by our current understanding of brown dwarfs. Perhaps the UKIRT has discovered a new breed of brown dwarf; a very cool object with some chemical in its atmosphere that absorbs infrared radiation at a wavelength of 1.25 micrometers.

Aside from the expected water vapor and methane, they've found this other absorption line pointing to something new and different from previous brown dwarves.

Re:Water Vapor and Methane (1)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795114)

No, it's just swamp gas. Nothing to see here, carry on.

Cue the Nibiru quacks (4, Insightful)

Craig Maloney (1104) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794354)

Just waiting for the Nibiru and Planet X quacks to say "See? We told you so!".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nibiru_collision [wikipedia.org]

Re:Cue the Nibiru quacks (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794442)

it will give all those whackos on CoasttoCoastAM something to talk about for weeks.

Re:Cue the Nibiru quacks (0, Troll)

cusco (717999) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794512)

Don't forget the 2012 idiots either.

Really, how the hell did the deliberate misreading of a pagan calendar (even if it was more accurate than our own) get accepted as a signal of the end of the world by Xtian fundies? Boggles the mind.

Re:Cue the Nibiru quacks (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794658)

The same reason that idiots thought that the world would end in the year 2000.

Or why some kids think they won't live past their 21st birthday.

It is just easier for some people to believe that the day after tomorrow will never exist, it just puts some people at ease.

Re:Cue the Nibiru quacks (2, Funny)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795882)

Or why some kids think they won't live past their 21st birthday.

I know one kid who won't live past his 13th birthday if he doesn't get his Math grade up!

Re:Cue the Nibiru quacks (0, Offtopic)

Rhuragh (215240) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794708)

After reading the first sentence of your reply I started to wonder how Sarah Palin voters were applicable to the discussion.

Re:Cue the Nibiru quacks (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795548)

I wasn't aware that 2012-mania was particularly prevalent in, as you put it, "Xtian fundies".

After all, real Christian fundamentalists will actually read the Bible that they hold as fundamental:

But of that day and hour no man knoweth, no, not the angels of Heaven, but My Father only."

--Matthew 24:36

Executive summary: someone who claims to know the end of the world is either lying to you or to himself.

Re:Cue the Nibiru quacks (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795814)

Christian fundies will read the Bible allright...but they will hold as fundamental from it only what they want (it's easy with all the ambiguities). If that's the conviction the end is near, so be it!

Re:Cue the Nibiru quacks (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795786)

Remember that pagan is mostly a constructed name, by adherents of one mythology, which means "not us". I wouldn't view them in any stark contrast, really ...especially since, heck, when one honestly compares the Christianity at my place (self-professed defensive bulwark of it over the ages, but also quite in favours of Vatican for some time now) with
a) official Christianity from 1000 years ago;
b) local beliefs 1000 years ago (when baptism took place; though of course "national baptism" in a myth, old belifes were quite strong untill XVI-XVII century);
then it's really not very obvious to say whether the current state took more from a) or from b)...
And I don't think it's very distinctive.

Probably has water (4, Interesting)

Meshach (578918) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794358)

FTA:

Using the Gemini Observatory, follow-up spectroscopic analysis has detected methane and water vapor in its atmosphere

I think that the discovery of water is very interesting. And with organic compounds existing there (in the liked article) this could be a very important discovery in our quest to understand the universe.

Re:Probably has water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31794794)

Gary Coleman sneezed into a wormhole whose other end is 10 light years away.

Re:Probably has water (4, Interesting)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794814)

On top of that,

It could have a surface temperature as low as 400 Kelvin, even cooler than the team's previous record of slightly below 500 K

That's only ~127 Celsius, 27 degrees above water's boiling point. That temperature range is far from uninhabitable. Combine the organic compounds with methane and water and a relatively moderate surface temperature and I would say that we have a prime example of one very possible location for life outside of our own solar system. That's pretty damn exciting.

Re:Probably has water (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795148)

That's only ~127 Celsius, 27 degrees above water's boiling point.

Unless the surface of it just happens to have an atmospheric pressure of 1,013.25 hectopascals that is incorrect. Water boils at 100C at our sea-level atmospheric pressure. At the top of Mount Everest it's only 69C.

While the temperature may be survivable, there's no guarantee that water will be anything but gas at the surface.

Re:Probably has water (2, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795396)

Hm? Wouldn't one expect a star to have a much denser atmosphere due to the high gravity?

Re:Probably has water (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795388)

Chemical Life ON a star, that is pretty darned mind blowing!

What about if there was a companion planet that orbited closely around it? Life could live there as the energy could come from tidal heating and IR radiation from the Brown Dwarf.

It's going to get us! (2, Funny)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794362)

I like how the title implies that having "rogue" brown dwarf "lurking" close by is some sort of security threat. WATCH OUT, IT MAY HAVE WMD'S!!!!!111one

I think we should greet it with open arms and set up McDonald's and Starbuck's franchises as soon as we can to show it that we welcome it as a neighbor!

Re:It's going to get us! (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794486)

If an object such as this drifted into our solar system it could very possibly be the end of us all.

It could come into contact with the Earth or one of the other planets in the solar system knocking planets out of orbit. It doesn't even need to actually make contact to toss a planet out of its orbit even.

If an object such as this drifted into our solar system we might as well party till we die cause there won't be much that we could do to prevent our demise.

Image the Earth drifting out beyond the Oort Cloud, frozen and dark with the sun nothing more than another star in the sky.

Re:It's going to get us! (1)

DrVxD (184537) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795984)

Fortunately, it's 10 light years away - so even if it were heading for us, by the time it gets here everyone who's reading this will be long gone.

Re:It's going to get us! (2, Funny)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794620)

I think we should greet it with open arms and set up McDonald's and Starbuck's franchises as soon as we can to show it that we welcome it as a neighbor!

That will only greatly increase its mass and make it more dangerous!

Re:It's going to get us! (0, Troll)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794672)

OMG, how come it's always the BROWN dwarves that scare people so much, and nobody ever seems to worry about the white ones?

Re:It's going to get us! (1, Funny)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795160)

OMG, how come it's always the BROWN dwarves that scare people so much, and nobody ever seems to worry about the white ones?

Well since its a BROWN one you can expect that the US military will bomb it any time now!

Thats their job in the world; if its brown bomb the fuck out of it!

Re:It's going to get us! (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795282)

I like how the title implies that having "rogue" brown dwarf "lurking" close by is some sort of security threat. WATCH OUT, IT MAY HAVE WMD'S!!!!!111one

Security threat? It depends. A dwarf rogue...are these often chaotic evil or what?

Ugly name (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794386)

What about calling it Nemesis [wikipedia.org] ? Maybe is not as close as it is supposed to be, but is the best candidate so far.

Unstable Planets (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31794392)

If this brown dwarf is truly "rogue" and "lurking in our cosmic neighborhood", then there's only one way to deal with it. [wikipedia.org]

Perception... (0, Offtopic)

Jahava (946858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794414)

Rogue Brown Dwarf Lurks In Our Cosmic Neighborhood

Fortunately, we Humans have Perception [wowwiki.com] , so he's not that big of a threat.

/cast Defensive Stance

Re:Perception... (2, Funny)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794828)

I hate you, and wish to burn your newsletter.

Re:Perception... (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795600)

Jahava is promptly stunlocked to death by the subtlety-spec gnome rogue he wasn't expecting.

Yeah, they're pretty overpowered.

Gimli is in space? (4, Funny)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794452)

He's the coolest brown dwarf I know of too, but how did he get out there?

Re:Gimli is in space? (3, Funny)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794592)

He's the coolest brown dwarf I know of too...

What you talkin' 'bout Willis?

Re:Gimli is in space? (1)

BobNET (119675) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795038)

how did he get out there?

Somebody tossed a dwarf?

Re:Gimli is in space? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31795932)

Is that like tossing a salad? If so... eww...

Pretty close... (4, Informative)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794492)

This chart http://www.astro.wisc.edu/~dolan/constellations/extra/nearest.html [wisc.edu] lists the closest objects to earth. The brown dwarf (being a failed brown dwarf and found recently...howzabout calling it FAIL) is about the 12th closest object to our solar system.

Re:Pretty close... (1)

QuestionsNotAnswers (723120) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795454)

If we do a histogram of that data [wisc.edu] we get:
Bin . . . Frequency
02.5 . . . 1
05.0 . . . 3
07.5 . . . 3
10.0 . . . 3
12.5 . . . 5
15.0 . . . 7
More . . . 4
If we have trouble finding "dimmer" stars, there could be a lot of them (Bunch of presumptions, including that the "more" category is small because we are having trouble finding dim stars!!!).

Re:Pretty close... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31795574)

Cool, loner. I say we call it The Fonz.

A cool rogue loner? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31794528)

It's gonna get all the chicks. They always do. :(

Matter of opinion (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31794610)

For starters, it's the coolest brown dwarf ever discovered

Maybe to astronomers, but most people will think it's pretty lame.

Dark Matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31794818)

Could these and similar objects be what constitutes most of the "dark matter" scientists are looking for?

Re:Dark Matter? (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795290)

Np, the dark matter scientists are looking for is tied up in the form of the packing material for the instuments that scientists use to look for the dark matter.

Re:Dark Matter? (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795318)

No.

So that's where Gary Coleman has been (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31794968)

Whachoo talkin' 'bout Willis?

10 light years and closing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31794988)

borg's sphere or Empire Death Star?

Alpha Centauri (1)

thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795214)

The closest star system to ours, Alpha Centauri, is 4.37 light years away. People there might not agree that it's just our neighborhood.

Well... (1)

catdevnull (531283) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795234)

Well, there's goes the cosmic neighborhood...

Hip Hop Is So Yesterday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31795306)

Cool brown dwarfs with fits full of diamond rings and surrounded by hookers is so passe. This is why it's just now news for nerds

Closer Brown Dwarf than this... (2, Interesting)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795350)

Just wait till we start getting results back from WISE, we may find some Brown Dwarfs that are close than this and maybe even some that are gravitationally bound to our own sun making us a binary or trinary system....

I think it would be cool if we found a brown dwarf closer than 1LY fron earth that we could use as a testing ground for interstellar probes.

My old nemesis (1)

smcdow (114828) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795676)

Me: UGPSJ0722-05.
UGPSJ0722-05: We meet again.
Me: It's been a long time.

Closest to the Earth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31795706)

I thought that title belonged to Jupiter? It's pretty much a brown dwarf.

God's still steaming turd? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31795804)

We may want to use the smelloscope to check out the brown sphere before we make that trip!

Rogue drivers (1)

Zaai (817587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795820)

It is hard enough to deal with rogue drivers here on the planet. Now I have to look out for rogue planets and stars too! Whats next, rogue fish?

wait a minute... (1)

aminorex (141494) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795856)

that's no brown dwarf!

That's no moon! (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31795934)

(...)

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