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Space

Huge, Jupiter-Like Storm Rages On Cool 'Failed Star' (nasa.gov) 38

astroengine writes: Jupiter's Big Red Spot is the largest example of a long-lived storm in the solar system, but now it has some pretty stiff competition in another star system. However, this "exo-storm" hasn't been spied on another gas giant, it's been spotted in the uppermost layers of a cool, small "failed star," or brown dwarf. Using three NASA space telescopes, new research published in The Astrophysical Journal has found that this spot isn't a starspot, but a bona fide storm that has more in common with Jupiter's famous cyclone. So is this really a failed star? Or is is an "overachieving planet"?
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Huge, Jupiter-Like Storm Rages On Cool 'Failed Star'

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  • Wow ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday December 11, 2015 @02:34PM (#51101761) Homepage

    In my lifetime the hunt for exoplanets has gone from "maybe we could find something if we did this" to "holy crap look at all this stuff" to "my god, it's full of storms".

    To all of the folks doing this stuff ... please, keep up the awesome.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's full of false positives.

      • Re:Wow ... (Score:5, Informative)

        by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday December 11, 2015 @02:50PM (#51101861) Homepage

        It's full of false positives.

        False positives doesn't meant what you think it means. Finding a body which matches the criteria and then turns out to be either a pair of stars or a brown dwarf with a storm is NOT a false positive.

        It means something was detected, and it turned out to be something else we hadn't planned for, but according to the parameters got looked at.

        False positives is if you look at candidates and say "we have no idea why this is even on the list". This is actually finding stuff to look at, and then we realize it's something we'd not yet considered.

        That's science.

        • by bondsbw ( 888959 )

          No, not quite. A false positive is a test result or measurement which, erroneously, indicates the presence of the condition where in fact the condition does not exist.

          Examples:

          - Laboratory results indicate you have a disease. A more in-depth look indicates that you do not have the disease. This is a false positive, because the test result was wrong.
          - Trillions of calculations are performed on a computer, and a review finds that a few hundred are inaccurate. It seems as though we have no idea why these r

          • Yes, except in this case, the star actually dimmed, was identified as a candidate for dimming due to orbital transit of another body. On closer inspection, they found it dimmed not due to transit, but due to a storm.

            That's not a false positive. That's an actual match of the criteria which yielded a completely unexpected situation ... the same as happened with the binary stars.

            Finding that star is NOT a false positive, not by a long shot. The test result wasn't wrong, it just identified something nobody h

            • by bondsbw ( 888959 )

              I agree, but your previous post was inconsistent.

              At first you made a correct statement: "Finding a body which matches the criteria and then turns out to be either a pair of stars or a brown dwarf with a storm is NOT a false positive".

              But then you stated an incorrect definition for false positive: "False positives is if you look at candidates and say 'we have no idea why this is even on the list'". Not only was it incorrect, but in this example it contradicts what you said before. The measurement was corr

        • Personally, I would compare it to Columbus. He sailed the Atlantic to find the path to India. He didn't find India, but he found something interesting still.

          • Still? I bet it was much more interesting than he originally went for.

            • by KGIII ( 973947 )

              He was expecting curry and got pemmican. That's probably a letdown. (Some of the family still eats that stuff. I am not a fan.)

        • "Finding a body which matches the criteria and then turns out to be either a pair of stars or a brown dwarf with a storm is NOT a false positive."

          Are you kidding? That's the very definition of "false positive"!

          "It means something was detected, and it turned out to be something else we hadn't planned for, but according to the parameters got looked at."

          And that's -again, the very definition of "false positive".

          You devise a test to find something (in this case exoplanets), the test rings the bell for that som

          • Not when you really think about what this is testing for.

            This is scanning the sky, looking for stars which exhibit a periodic dimming which could be accounted for by an orbiting body blocking some of the light. You cannot look directly for the orbiting body, so you are looking for an unusual behavior in the light of the star .. a cyclic dimming. The star did dim, and was added as a candidate to check to see if it has an exoplanet. In this case, it turned out that it was something they hadn't even conside

            • "Not when you really think about what this is testing for."

              Exoplanets.

              That's exactly why when they first got the results they claimed "Hey! we found a lot of exoplanets".

              "This is scanning the sky, looking for stars which exhibit a periodic dimming"

              No. That was looking for exoplanets by scanning the sky for stars which exhibit a periodic dimming.

              Your claim makes as much sense as if you said "oh, no! that's not a false positive in an HIV test, they were not looking for HIV, just for HIV-like antibodies!"

              "If

  • So, pretty much this is like Mickey Rourke, Val Kilmer, or Tila Tequila?
    • I'm thinking more like Keanu Reeves.

      • Keanu Reeves has an estimated net worth of $350 million [celebritynetworth.com] ... I'm not sure I'd call him a failed star.

        Love him or hate him, pretty much everyone knows who he is.

        • Keanu Reeves has an estimated net worth of $350 million [celebritynetworth.com] ... I'm not sure I'd call him a failed star.

          Love him or hate him, pretty much everyone knows who he is.

          Dude, Totally!
          If we lack names for failed stars, there's lots of Kardashians...

    • Except in all actuality Tila Tequila is a brown dwarf.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm not falling for that "Check out the dark spot on this brown dwarf" prank again!

  • Or is is an "overachieving planet"?

    Won't find anyone overachieving on the editing team at Slashdot.

  • I believe it is the Great Red Spot, and not the Big Red Spot. While it may not matter much for the story, seems like an obvious thing to get wrong...
  • by Pfhorrest ( 545131 ) on Friday December 11, 2015 @05:12PM (#51102745) Homepage Journal

    The only difference between a brown dwarf and a supergiant planet is that the latter orbits another star, while a brown dwarf is the largest thing in its star system. A brown dwarf basically is a supermassive planet, just a rogue one (not orbiting another star), so the question at the end of this summary is dumb.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No, brown dwarves have been found orbiting other stars.

    • Since most star systems are binary this is false. A brown dwarf is a star that is just under the mass needed to ignite fusion but they are still intensely hot in the infrared spectrum. Jupiter is still several times too small to be a brown dwarf.
  • I mean, they can peek billions of years into the past to the edge of the visible universe, image nebulae and supernovae, figure out that this start has in fact several layers - but we never see a direct fucking image? What's the catch here?!
    • Exactly what I was thinking. I don't want an "illustration" or "artist's impression", I want to see what they actually saw. Pics or it didn't happen.

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