Astronomers have discovered the first-ever star with a storm, which makes scientists question how cloud storms actually form in space.
Astronomers from Canada and the United States found a star with a giant storm – something that has never been seen before. They compared the storm – which is actually larger than planet Earth – to the Red Spot on Jupiter, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
John Gizis, lead author of the study and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Delaware, said that the star, which is the size of Jupiter, has a storm as big as Jupiter’s Red spot, that is still going strong after two years of observation.
According to Professor Gizis, scientists are currently unsure whether these types of star storms are common or unique, and they are also unsure why they go on for so long.
The newfound star is an L-Dwarf, a new spectral class which includes both brown dwarfs and stars. Since in this case the celestial body is a star, it makes it the first star to ever have a storm, according to scientists.
In January 2014 at the American Astronomical Society, Aren Heinze, a postdoctoral researchers with expertise in Cosmology, Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Stony Brook University, said that a lot of brown dwarfs have variability in brightness, which may suggests the presence of storms or clouds.
Compared with the storms spotted on brown dwarfs, which last up to a few hours or days, the two-year storm on the star is one of a kind among L-Dwarfs, according to astronomers.
The storm was spotted with the help of NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope (SST) and the Kepler Space Telescope (KST). Using infrared light, the Spitzer Space Telescope found that the dark path on the star was not a magnetic star spot, but a huge storm with the diameter of about three Earths. Astronomers say that the storm is located somewhere near the polar top of the star.
Astronomers plan on using the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Kepler Space Telescope at the same time to search for other similar star storms.
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