November 30, 2005

The 'Verse's Tiniest Solar System (Minus the Sol)
— Ace

birdsnbeesnsolarsystems.jpg

A brown star, as far as I understand it, is a gas-giant planet that never accretes enough mass to collapse into the fusion-reactors we know as actual stars. It's a would-be star that never caught fire, in other words. Sort of like Liz Phair.

I don't know if Jupiter is technically a "brown star," but Carl Sagan referred to it as "a star that failed." If only it could have gotten a little bit bigger and maybe pulled in some of Saturn's mass into it... we could have two suns, just like Luke Skywalker did on Tatooine. And how freakin' cool would that be?

And yes, I'm posting this not for the astronomical novelty of it, but chiefly for the potential Google-hits for "brown star." I'd prefer not to explain.

Thanks to Glen.

Posted by: Ace at 11:45 AM | Comments (31)
Post contains 149 words, total size 1 kb.

1 It's entirely possible that I'm a big pervo but, doesn't the last sentence contain the word dick? What is a "dick of dust and gas"?

Posted by: Jake Jacobsen at November 30, 2005 11:47 AM (9DQPO)

2 That's what my wife's pet name for me Jake.

Posted by: compos mentis at November 30, 2005 11:49 AM (xHpUK)

3 for the potential Google-hits for "brown star."

Are you really sure you want to attract that demographic? I mean, isn't one compos mentis enough?

Posted by: sandy burger at November 30, 2005 11:51 AM (Sw8Cn)

4 So does this mean that Wonkette will suddenly get hot for astronomy?

Posted by: Harry Callahan at November 30, 2005 11:57 AM (Xroyb)

5 A body needs to be a minimum of about five Jupiter masses before it can be classed as a brown dwarf.

Posted by: David Gillies at November 30, 2005 11:58 AM (2FZO3)

6 I'm fairly sure that if the person writing the article had had something better than a public school education, he would have spelled "disc" right. Maybe even spelled it as "disk." Unfortunately, I guess he got confused and flustered and couldn't decide between the two... so he combined them, leaving out the "s."

Posted by: Jeff at November 30, 2005 11:59 AM (yiMNP)

7 brown stars? dicks of dust?

Posted by: roscoe k at November 30, 2005 12:05 PM (epLDN)

8 In this version of the story, it's spelled correctly.

Posted by: sandy burger at November 30, 2005 12:06 PM (Sw8Cn)

9 Trying to decide if Jupiter is a "failed star" is not easy since it's a continuum, not a stairstep (or starstep). It's like trying to decide if Pluto or Ceres are planets.

What are usually considered brown dwarfs are much larger than Jupiter, large enough so that they originally glowed quite brightly when they formed, due to the heat of collapse. But they're too small to have enough pressure in their cores to produce fusion, so they never ignite.

According to this page it requires a body 84 times the mass of Jupiter to ignite. (The sun is 1000 times the mass of Jupiter.) That same page says that the generally accepted definition of "Brown Dwarf" has a lower limit of about ten times the mass of Jupiter.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at November 30, 2005 12:07 PM (CJBEv)

10 Dick, disk, disc...

Just again demonstrates what all of those multiple layers of fact checking are able to achieve.

Posted by: fretless at November 30, 2005 12:08 PM (twzGk)

11 After reading the article I closely read Ace's post to see if he would mention the last sentence. Evidently, he didn't finish the article or thought he would be above the fray and not mention it at all.

Posted by: Dale at November 30, 2005 12:08 PM (VE3QR)

12 Do brown stars accrete or excrete?

Posted by: compos curious at November 30, 2005 12:11 PM (xHpUK)

13 Astronomical cladistics has gotten a lot more complicated in the last couple of decades. It used to be that you could put astronomical objects in neat categories: comets, asteroids, moons, planets, stars.

But then Voyager took some high-def photos of the Jovian system, and things got weird. Is a big moon a planet? Is a small one an asteroid? What if planets actually capture asteroids (as Mars probably did Deimos and Phobos)? Are they still asteroids or are they moons? Or both? And what about comets that "melt" into asteroids? Or those strange "Kuiper belt objects" that might be as large as Jupiter? Then you have weird things like "neutron stars" and "quasars" and black holes and dark matter and gravitational lenses and....

This is a cool time to be alive, if you're a space geek.

Posted by: Monty at November 30, 2005 12:19 PM (/V4PN)

14 "Like the Duck himself, I guess."

"The Duke"

"Duck, I sez"

Posted by: krakatoa at November 30, 2005 12:27 PM (J0a64)

15 "... birth ... surrounded by ... a dick ... and gas...."

Just another failed, oppressive patriarchal system from what I can tell.

Excerpted from my new book Is Space Necessary?

Posted by: Maureen Dowd at November 30, 2005 12:56 PM (kVUW4)

16 Keep your disk away from my brown star. My roamin' days are over.

Posted by: George Michael at November 30, 2005 02:01 PM (XmYpV)

17 Sounds like quite a large brown dick, drawf or no.

Posted by: Dave S at November 30, 2005 02:02 PM (r1ReH)

18 This is a cool time to be alive, if you're a space geek.

True, but unfortunately, some of the coolness will be lost in the sea of phallus jokes.

Posted by: Dave S at November 30, 2005 02:04 PM (r1ReH)

19 Not sure about a dick of dust, but I do remember the pain and anguish of being forced to play football with a bulging dick.

Posted by: TerryGlenn at November 30, 2005 02:37 PM (ywZa8)

20 I don't get it. What's the joke here?
Is Brown Star another name for the Amber Eye, hence the Wonkette reference?

Posted by: Bart at November 30, 2005 03:00 PM (KuvFu)

21 Well, I sent it to Ace as an example of the fine, multi-level editing and proofreading we have here in Dallas. I'm a relative newbie to the AoS lifestyle (I'm up to diet cherry Coke and Zoloft, so I'm gettin' there!) and I thought it might be something everyone might be interested in...

Posted by: Glen at November 30, 2005 03:00 PM (7vc4Z)

22 Dick........disk.........disc
Brown star..........amber eye............balloon knot
It's all an anal orgy!

Posted by: Steve at November 30, 2005 03:24 PM (n0lBX)

23 > Is Brown Star another name for the Amber Eye, hence the Wonkette reference?

Yes sir. I'd never encountered the term myself until GTA: San Andreas featured a seafood restaurant called "The Brown Starfish."

Posted by: Guy T. at November 30, 2005 03:25 PM (e1Zez)

24 I don't get it.

Oh, I think you do, Bart. I think you do, indeed.

Posted by: sandy burger at November 30, 2005 05:48 PM (iGWFT)

25 That must be the biggest dick ever.

Posted by: rd at November 30, 2005 07:40 PM (lpbk9)

26 Yea, I got it but I needed a set-up for the "amber eye."

Can't just spring an amber eye on somebody. One must ease into the amber eye, gently, softly.

I take my writing very seriously, you know.

What?

What did you think I was talking?


Oh.
You're sick.

Posted by: Bart at November 30, 2005 07:53 PM (EixHX)

27 IIRC the sequel to 2001 [2010] had the obelisk thing appearing on Jupiter and multiplying, increasing Jupiter's mass and turning it into a star. A small star, but a star - thus allowing life on its moons to evolve/begin.

It's been years since I read that.

Posted by: Mikey at December 01, 2005 03:53 AM (O9Cc8)

28 I don't know if Jupiter is technically a "brown star," but Carl Sagan referred to it as "a star that failed." If only it could have gotten a little bit bigger and maybe pulled in some of Saturn's mass into it... we could have two suns, just like Luke Skywalker did on Tatooine. And how freakin' cool would that be?

It wouldn't be cool at all... it would be freakin' HOT!!!

Posted by: Joshua at December 01, 2005 08:12 AM (2c7xL)

29 How many light years is it to ALPHA CENTARY? becuase the JUPITER 2 never made it

Posted by: spurwing plover at December 01, 2005 11:51 AM (b1Fi6)

30 I always thought the official classification for Jupiter was as a Gaseous Giant, but I could be thinking Ted Kennedy.

Posted by: Tom M at December 02, 2005 11:12 AM (d6bNm)

Posted by: asics mexico 66 at January 02, 2012 11:29 PM (JDmlW)

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