The brown dwarf resides for the most part in the constellations of Aquila and Serpens, the Eagle and the Serpent. Combine these and you have a celestial dragon. This point of aphelion is opposite the Duat in the celestial sphere, which the evidence above commends as perihelion. The whole orbit appears thus: Aquila (aphelion), Ursa Major, Cancer, Canis Major and Orion (perihelion), Taurus and Aries, then back in the direction of Sagittarius. The significance of perihelion occurring in the region of the sky between Sirius and Orion is not to be underestimated. This is the sacred Duat and leads us into mythological territory.
Pondering the nature of an ultracool object in Orion May 22, 2002 A new substellar object, named SOri70, has been discovered near the young star Sigma Orionis. Is it a young planet, or a wandering old brown dwarf in the line of sight? This is a question to be discussed by the astronomers attending the International Astronomical Union Symposium on Brown Dwarfs this week on the Big Island of Hawaii. Deep sky images and follow-up spectroscopy obtained by an international team of astronomers revealed this extremely cool and dim object close to the multiple stellar system Sigma Orionis. The astronomers made the observations with large telescopes in Hawaii and the Canary Islands. Photo: An image of the Sigma Orionis region. The multiple star Sigma Orionis, which is visible with the naked eye, is at the center. A box indicates the position of the planet candidate, which is only 8.7 arcminutes from the star. The image was taken from the Digital Sky Survey and has a size of 23 x 22 square arcminutes. The inset shows the infrared image obtained at the William Herschel Telescope by Dr. Victor Bejar and Prof. Eduardo Martin.
Mysterious Object Might be First Extrasolar Planet Photographed 22 May 2002 The coolest, faintest and possibly the smallest "substellar object" ever photographed was announced yesterday, but researchers don't know exactly what they have found. Observations so far do not allow for a precise determination of the object's distance, which is needed to calculate its mass. If it 1,150 light-years away, as suspected, then it is likely less than 8 million years old and lives amid a cluster of similarly young stars known as the Sigma Orionis system, and its mass would be about that of Jupiter. The object would qualify -- by some definitions -- as a planet. No planet outside our solar system has ever been photographed. Other Jupiter-mass planets have been found around other stars, but they were detected by an indirect method that notes a gravitational wobble induced in the host star. If the newly spotted object, called SOri70, is in fact a planet, it would be a strange one, sitting 36,000 times farther away from any its nearest stellar neighbor than Jupiter is from our Sun. There is an unresolved debate among experts as to whether an object so far from a star can be called a planet or not. And no one is sure how it might have formed our how it could end up in such a location. Some models suggest that gaseous objects like Jupiter might form via the gravitational collapse of a cloud of material, similar to how a star forms. But if such an object forms alone in space, and not around a star, can it be called a planet? Regardless, researchers say there is a 20 percent chance the object is closer to us, and thus it would be older, more massive, intrinsically dimmer and classified as a brown dwarf star. Brown dwarfs are typically many times heavier than Jupiter, but they are not massive enough to trigger the thermonuclear fusion that powers a real star. Brown dwarfs have been found orbiting stars, and other free-floating brown dwarfs have also been detected in recent months.
SSNote: Object SOri 70 is located in the "Belt of Orion". The constellation of Orion's belt is the area of the sky known to the Sioux as the Heart of the White Buffalo constellation. It was also known by the Acient Egyptians as the Duat, the region they believed the King would go to the imperishable star to join the other gods in the immortal afterlife. See Comet C/1995 O1 Hale-Bopp. The return of Nibiru is said to come from the constellation Orion. The above map is an APPROXIMATE Visible Passage for Nibiru. The Belt of Orion is the three stars perfectly lined up along the passage. The closest small star just below the Belt of Orion is Sigma Orionis, the current location of Object SOri 70. Comet Shoemaker Levy 9
Brown Dwarf Found Orbiting Star at Earth-like Distance May 21, 2002 08:30 CDT Astronomers using adaptive optics technology on the Gemini North Telescope at the Gemini Observatory have observed a brown dwarf orbiting a low-mass star at a distance comparable to just three times the distance between the Earth and Sun. This is the closest separation distance ever found for this type of binary system using direct imaging. The record-breaking find is just one of a dozen lightweight binary systems observed in the study. Together, they provide a new perspective on the formation of stellar systems and how smaller bodies in the Universe (including large planets) might form. "By using Gemini's advanced imaging capabilities, we were able to clearly resolve this binary pair where the distance between the brown dwarf and its parent star is only about twice the distance of Mars from the Sun," said team member Melanie Freed, a graduate student at the University of Arizona in Tucson. With an estimated mass of 38-70 times the mass of Jupiter, the newly identified brown dwarf is located just three times the Sun-Earth distance (or 3.0 Astronomical Units) from its parent star. The star, known as LHS 2397a, is only 46 light-years from Earth. The space motions of this object in the sky indicate that it is an old very low-mass star. The previous imaging record for the closest distance between a brown dwarf and its parent (a much brighter, Sun-like star) was almost five times greater at 14 AU. One Astronomical Unit (AU) equals the average distance between the Earth and the Sun or about 150 million kilometers (93 million miles).
Astronomers Find Jupiter-like Weather on Brown Dwarfs May 24, 2002 08:30 CDT Brown dwarfs, those fading almost-stars, may actually have weather systems, according to observations by a team of scientists from NASA and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The team has found cloudy, stormy atmospheres on brown dwarfs -- celestial bodies that are less massive than stars, but have more mass than giant planets like Jupiter. The discovery will give scientists better tools for interpreting atmospheres and weather on brown dwarfs or on planets around other stars. "The best analogy to what we witness on these objects are the storm patterns on Jupiter," said Adam Burgasser, astronomer at UCLA and lead author of the study. "But I suspect the weather on these more massive brown dwarfs makes the Great Red Spot look like a small squall." Jupiter's Great Red Spot is a massive storm more than 15,000 miles across and with winds of up to 270 miles per hour. Burgasser teamed with planetary scientist Mark Marley, meteorologist Andrew Ackerman of NASA Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley, and other collaborators to propose how weather phenomena could account for puzzling observations of brown dwarfs. "We had been thinking about what storms might do to the appearance of brown dwarfs," Marley said. "And when Adam showed us the new data, we realized there was a pretty good fit." The team calculated that using a model with breaks or holes in the cloudy atmosphere solved the mysterious observations of cooling brown dwarfs. Brown dwarfs, only recently discovered celestial bodies, are "failed stars at best," said Ackerman. Not massive enough to sustain the burning of hydrogen like stars, brown dwarfs go through cooling stages that scientists observe with infrared energy-detecting telescopes. They appear as a faint glow, like an ember from a fire that gives off both heat and light energy as it dims. Astronomers expected brown dwarfs, like most objects in the universe, to grow steadily fainter as they cool. However, new observations showed that during a relatively short phase, brown dwarfs appear to get brighter as they cool. The explanation lies in the clouds. At least 25,000 times fainter than the Sun, brown dwarfs are still incredibly hot, with temperatures as high as 2,000 degrees Kelvin (3,140 F). At such high temperatures, things like iron and sand occur as gases. As brown dwarfs cool, these gases condense in the atmosphere into liquid droplets to form clouds, similar to water clouds on Earth. As the brown dwarf cools further, there is a rapid clearing of the clouds caused by atmospheric weather patterns. As the clouds are whisked away by the storms, bright infrared light from the hotter atmosphere beneath the clouds escapes, accounting for the unusual brightening of the brown dwarfs.
Above image: This discovery image from the Gemini Observatory represents the closest brown dwarf companion ever directly imaged around a star (named LHS 2397a). This image was obtained on Feb. 7, 2002 with the Gemini North Telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii using the University of Hawaii's Adaptive Optics system Hokupa`a and the QUIRC infrared imager. The resolution of the image is 0.1 arcseconds (equal to the size of a quarter held 32 miles away). The companion is so faint and red that it must have a cool "L7" atmosphere and is therefore only massive enough to be a brown dwarf. Credit: " Gemini Observatory/Melanie Freed, Laird Close, Nick Siegler University of Arizona/ Hokupa'a-QUIRC image, University of Hawaii, IfA"
Middle image: What Orbits Stars: Astronomers have found many types of objects in orbit around stars. These range from other full-sized stars like our sun (binary star systems) to Jupiter sized planets (never directly imaged but inferred from radial-velocity spectroscopy). The relative sizes of these various types of bodies are shown above for comparison. Even though a brown dwarf can be similar in diameter to a Jupiter sized planet, brown dwarfs are 13-75 times more massive and they can appear on the order of 100-1,000,000 times brighter than a Jupiter sized planet at infrared wavelengths where they are studied with telescopes. Credit: "Gemini Observatory" optional additional credit "Artwork by Jon Lomberg".
Right image: Companion Distances From Low-Mass Stars: This illustration shows the relatively small separations of the 12 companions found around low-mass stars that were studied in the Gemini Observatory survey by Laird Close et al. The wide view at the top shows the common distances for companions around larger "parent" stars (white dots), with the low-mass companions (orange dots) enlarged in the lower part of the illustration and a scale of our solar system drawn in for comparison. The fainter orange companions are brown dwarfs; the brightest are likely low-mass stars. Two gridlines equals one Astronomical Unit or the average distance between the Earth and the Sun (approximately 150,000,000 km or 93,000,000 miles.) Credit: "Gemini Observatory" optional additional credit "Artwork by Jon Lomberg".
Photos: Above image: An artist's rendition shows the relative sizes and likely appearance from left to right of the sun, a very cool star, a warm brown dwarf, a cooler brown dwarf, and finally Jupiter. Above image: This is an image of how these objects might appear through an infrared camera. These images were created by Robert Hurt