Brown Dwarf Stars

The planet Jupiter is a large mass of gasses, and brown dwarf stars are a large mass of gasses. But the difference lies a little bit in the diameter and a lot in the mass. Jupiter is a massive planet, 10 times as thick and a thousand times heavier than Earth. Mercury is the smallest planet, less than 1/2 the width of Earth and five percent the weight of Earth.

But in other solar systems, more massive planets than Jupiter have been discovered. These gas planets are getting near the size of a brown dwarf in their width. But they still do not have enough gas to be a brown dwarf. There is debate in the scientific community as to the difference between a really large gas planet and a brown dwarf. Brown dwarf stars do not have an active stellar fusion reaction in process, but the coolest brown dwarfs are as warm as Earth. This is peculiar because we know that the Earth gets heat from the Sun, and heat from internal nuclear reactions. Brown dwarfs seem to have neither the heat of a nearby star or the heat of a nuclear reaction to rely on.

In the cold depths of space, Jupiter has a surface one hundred degrees below zero. But we think the deepest interior of Jupiter is very hot. This is likely caused by the friction of compressed gasses, compacted by the force of gravity.

A brown dwarf has a surface far warmer than Jupiter. We think some brown dwarfs harbored some fusion at some point. We also believe they are cooling, and often a radiant brown dwarf is very young, much younger than Earth. Theories about the existence of brown dwarfs are decades old, but the best real astronomical evidence is within the last two decades.

We once thought there may be as many brown dwarfs as there are stars, but now we think stars outnumber brown dwarfs by at least five to one. But astronomically, stars give us a bright light to study, as opposed to only a tiny glow.

Black holes were once just a theory, and physicists studying gravity and the mass of large gas planets and small stars thought that something like a brown dwarf existed. Now we have seen them, but questions remain. How many of them lit fusion at a point, are cooler and darker ones still not seen? A key element to study in brown dwarfs is lithium. Lithium is present in some brown dwarfs, and may indicate some fusion at some point.

But if many more brown dwarfs are much older, much cooler, darker and harder to see, we don’t really know yet how much we know about brown dwarfs.

Wikipedia has more up to date information about brown dwarfs.

Kepler-186f

500 light years from earth, much further than Tau-Ceti at 12 light years, Kepler-186f orbits red dwarf Kepler-186 with a radius similar to Earth. Discovered and documented by the Kepler space telescope, it is accompanied by four other planets orbiting much closer to the star. The planet 186f would seem to orbit it’s ‘sun’ in just over four months.

While news reports make popular the existence of an Earth0like planet in an Earth sized orbit, this is not interesting because the star is a red giant, and the system seems to lack the protective gas giants that would shield a planet of this type from meteorites and comets. However the Earth sized palnet is important in that gravitational forces would be comparable. However the Olympics, if held on such a planet, would have their own set of high jump and pole vauit records to deal with minor gravitational differences.

Kepler-186 is a star one twenty fifth the brightness of the Sun. Kepler-186f is actually in a smaller orbit and would receive around one third the light energy than does Earth.

About ten percent larger than Earth, 186f is still not with any certainty identified as the home of oceans or a thick atmosphere. It’s rotation speed, or day is also not determined, but because of its proximity to the start 186, it is thougt that the day length might be much longer than Earth’s.

Outernet speeds

The Outernet folks have announced speeds of 2400 baud for a worldwide internet free for anyone using satellite coverage much like today’s GPS systems run 24/7 without subscription helping millions of people and businesses too. But Outernet doesn’t really operate like an internet wi-fi connection, it is primarily a broadcast only application.

Much as GPS data is used by your receiver, which calculates the distance from each satellite itself, no information is sent from terrestrial devices to the satellites by Outernet users. An Outernet surfer does not have the option to send the system a specific ‘request’, i.e. it’s nothing like the internet as we know it.

The Outernet is more like a radio station. When tuned to the Outernet, you will receive the news, as they see fit to broadcast. That’s not to say that protocols can arise to overcome this limitation. The Outernet will easily be received, as it’s been proposed, by any wi-fi device, but probably by using the Outernet application. The conventional Safari browser on your iPhone might well have nothing to do with this application.

What may be a part of this application is a link to the SMS capabilites, and at some time the Outernet application will send a request back to the Outernet servers from your device which includes your device’s ipv6 address to the Outernet, which then could possibly be aimed back to your device with conventional protocols.

Short of the conventional request/response architecture of current internet usage, the Outernet application will be more of a news reader, scrolling data with news, weather, sports and the current price of hog bellies directly to your phone, whether you have a cell signal or not.

Fomalhaut

Fomalhaut is a Class A main sequence star, much brighter and about twice the size of our G-Type Sun. A bright star in the night sky, Fomalhaut is in the constellation Pisces Australis in the southern sky and is around 25 light years from Earth.

Fomalhaut exhibits a ring of dust and debris like the asteroid belt or the Kuiper belt. The asteroid belt orbiting the Sun is between Mars and Jupiter while the Kuiper Belt is beyond the orbit of Neptune. Beyond that is the Oort Cloud which has a diameter of roughly two light years, while the ring of debris around Fomalhaut most studied is more like the Kuiper Belt with a diameter of two one thousanths of a light year. Earths orbit is fifteen millionths of a light year, Neptunes orbit has a radius of about 4.1 ‘light-hours’ or .5 thousanths of a light year.

In light years, these numbers are small, so for the Fomalhaut system and our Solar System scientists talk in terms of Astronomical Units, or AU. One AU is the distance from Earth to the Sun. Neptune is 30.1 AU from the sun, or 30 times further. The outermost studied cloud of debris around Fomalhaut is 133 AU, or four times greater in orbit radius than the orbit of Neptune. But since Fomalhaut is 20 times brighter than our Sun and of much greater mass, the inhabitable zone for a Fomalhaut earth like planet would have an orbital radius of three to five AU.

Additional dim stars around Fomalhaut taken by the Hubble Space Telescope lead scientists to call it a triple star system, with ‘B’ and ‘C’ stars that yield little luminosity and are around one light year or 65,000 AU away, well outside the known debris belts of Fomalhaut.

Within the debris field, scientists have detected two planets roughly the size of Earth. However, one is thought to be Mars like with lower gravitational force and the other twice earth with a greater gravitational pull. Because they are so far outside the three to five AU habitable zone, they are thought to be very cold planets.

In order to take advantage of the habitable zone of Fomalhaut, we could conceive of an Elysium style satellite but with an additional twist. The elliptical orbit of Fomalhaut B leads scientists to believe that the inhabitable zone will be heavily bombarded with asteroids and meteorites.

Cepheid variable pulsating stars and light years distance

Standard Candles, Cepheid Variables and the expanding universe

The correlation between a Cepheid variable’s brightness and the period of its peak and trough of brightness makes this kind of star a standard candle for distance approximation in the universe.Types of Cepheids include Classical Cepheids (Population I Cepheids, Type I Cepheids, or Delta Cephei variables), Type II Cepheids (Population II Cepheids), Anomalous Cepheids, and Dwarf Cepheids.

Classical Cepheids are between four and ten times the size of the Sun and pulsate during a period ranging from days to months.

Type II Cepheids exhibit a pulsation ranging from a day to two months. Usually smaller than the Sun and metal poor.

Edward Pigott in 1784 documented the pulsation of Eta Aquilae, a Classical Cepheid variables. But the standard example is Delta Cephei, documented by John Goodricke shortly thereafter.

Edwin Hubble postulated standard candle distances to the Andromeda Galaxy in 1924. In this time, astronomers still struggled with the difference between the Milky Way and the possibility of a larger universe.

In 1929, Hubble published more research theorizing an expanding universe, based on Cepheid variable measurements in many more galaxies.