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Dec 21st: Uncovering Mysterious Hidden Gems of our Galaxy

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Podcaster: Avivah Yamani

Title: Uncovering Mysterious Hidden Gems of our Galaxy

Organization: Astrosphere New Media

Link : http://astrosphere.org; http://unawe.org/kids/unawe1377/

Description: Space scoop, news for children.  The hidden Gems in the universe!

Bio: Avivah Yamani is a project manager of 365 Days Of Astronomy

Today’s sponsor: This episode of “365 Days of Astronomy” is sponsored by — no one. We still need sponsors for many days in 2013, so please consider sponsoring a day or two. Just click on the “Donate” button on the lower left side of this webpage, or contact us at signup@365daysofastronomy.org.

Transcript:

Humanity’s curiosity to explore is deeply rooted in our cultures. In astronomy, scientists aim to push the limits of our understanding to unlock some of the greatest mysteries of our Universe. To do so, they need extremely powerful telescopes.

Using a space-based telescope called WISE, together with a selection of telescopes on the ground, astronomers have found two of the oldest brown dwarfs ever. These ancient objects are thought to have formed when our galaxy was very young, more than 10 billion years ago!

Brown dwarfs are called “failed stars” by some astronomers. In size, they are somewhere between a giant planet like Jupiter, the largest planet in our Solar System, and a small star. But, unlike stars like our Sun, they never become hot enough for their material to begin merging and giving off energy in a process called ‘nuclear fusion’.

Instead, after they form, brown dwarfs simply begin to fade and cool down. These newly-discovered brown dwarfs were found have temperatures of 250-600 degrees Celsius, much cooler than stars. In comparison, the Sun has a surface temperature of 5600 degrees Celsius!

Finding these two brown dwarfs is like stumbling upon a pot of treasure that Captain Jack Sparrow would be jealous of. What makes these hidden gems so special is that they are moving at amazing speeds of 100–200 kilometres per second, much faster than normal stars and other brown dwarfs!

Cool Fact : Only this year, scientists found the third closest ever star system to the Sun, breaking a hundred year record. This system is only 6.5 light years away, and it contains two brown dwarfs!

End of podcast:

365 Days of Astronomy
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The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast is produced by the New Media Working Group of the International Year of Astronomy 2009. Audio post-production by Preston Gibson. Bandwidth donated by libsyn.com and wizzard media. Web design by Clockwork Active Media Systems. You may reproduce and distribute this audio for non-commercial purposes. Please consider supporting the podcast with a few dollars (or Euros!). Visit us on the web at 365DaysOfAstronomy.org or email us at info@365DaysOfAstronomy.org. In the new year the 365 Days of Astronomy project will be something different than before….Until then…goodbye.

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