Astronomers Find Tiny Star with Gigantic, Cloudy Storm

Astronomers Find Tiny Star with Gigantic, Cloudy Storm

A team of astronomers recently discovered a small star which has huge storm. The storm is as big as Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, said researchers who detected the tiny star using NASA’s Spitzer and Kepler space telescopes.

John Gizis of the University of Delaware, Newark, said the star they discovered is almost the size of Jupiter, and its storm is the size of Jupiter's Great Red Spot.

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

The star called W1906+40 is from a class of thermally cool objects called L-dwarfs. According to experts, some L-dwarfs are considered as stars because they fuse atoms and generate light, like our sun, and rest are called brown dwarfs, or ‘failed stars’, as they lack atomic fusion.

Temperature of W1906+40 is about 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit (2,200 Kelvin). This high temperature might sound extremely hot, but when talking in terms of star this temperatures is relatively cool.

Researchers said this newly found star is so cool that it easily allows clouds to form in its atmosphere. Giziz said, “The L-dwarf's clouds are made of tiny minerals”.

Astronomers in this study were able to study changes in the atmosphere of W1906+40 for two years.

The dwarf for the first time was discovered by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer in 2011. Later, Gizis and his team noted that this object was also located in the same area of the sky where NASA's Kepler mission had been focusing at stars for years to hunt for planets.

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