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Thread: Coldest Known Failed Stars Found

  1. #1
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    Nov 2002
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    Coldest Known Failed Stars Found

    As reported on Space.com

    Scientists located the 14 cosmic oddities, called brown dwarfs, using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. These stars are so cold and faint that they would be impossible to see with visible-light telescopes, but Spitzer's infrared camera eye was able to detect their feeble glow, NASA officials said in a Thursday announcement.
    ...
    While brown dwarfs have been hard to find in the past, but should soon be coming out of the dark in droves, NASA scientists said.

    NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) space observatory, which is currently scanning the entire sky in infrared wavelengths, is expected to turn up hundreds of similar cold objects, if not even colder.



    Cool!


    I find it curious though that they mention Nemesis at the article's end, and renaming it "Tyche."

    "Although there is only limited evidence to suggest a large body in a wide, stable orbit around the sun, WISE should be able to find it, or rule it out altogether."

    At long last, yes?
    Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins. Which of the two has the greater view?

  2. #2
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    May 2005
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    Personally, I think it would be awesome to find a brown dwarf companion around the Sun. One futuristic benefit of search a body would be to serve as a refueling depot and/or gravitational assist for probes heading to our stellar neighbors.

    However, I think they should use the name Nemesis instead of Tyche, otherwise the CT'ers will simply start insisting that there are TWO bodies out there since we clearly have not found "Nemesis" yet.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by baric View Post
    Personally, I think it would be awesome to find a brown dwarf companion around the Sun. One futuristic benefit of search a body would be to serve as a refueling depot and/or gravitational assist for probes heading to our stellar neighbors.
    It wouldn't be able to provide as much of a gravitational assist as Jupiter or the Sun. There are two basic types of gravitational assist--powered and unpowered.

    Jupiter provides the best unpowered assist because it combines a somewhat large orbital speed with a sufficiently deep gravitational well to take advantage of it (Mars, Earth, Venus, and Mercury are faster, but they have much weaker gravity wells).

    The Sun provides the best powered assist because it has a much deeper gravity well than anything else nearby. If you want to use gravity assists to go interstellar, your best option is to use a flyby of Jupiter followed up with a powered flyby of the Sun (yes, you use Jupiter to fly inward almost straight for the Sun).

    A nearby brown dwarf Sun companion wouldn't help. Unlike Jupiter, its orbital speed will be far too small for a useful unpowered assist. And the Sun will give you more bang for the buck for a powered assist.

    In all cases, though, the potential interstellar speeds would be ridiculously slow.

    As for serving as a "refueling depot"...no. There's no sense in stopping to refuel, because it costs you as much fuel to stop there as it would to refuel and accelerate again. You might as well just go straight for your destination.

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