What's the weather like out there? No, I don't mean in your city, or your state or even your country... or planet - I'm talking about really out there: 35.2 trillion miles, in fact, and not on a planet at all but rather on a brown dwarf. (That's a so-called "failed star," if you're the type who likes to point out negatives.)
It might seem a purely hypothetical question but astronomers have actually managed to directly observe "weather" on a brown dwarf, using the incredible imaging power of the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) located on the Cerro Paranal mountain in Chile's Atacama desert.
PHOTOS: Extreme Space Weather
Changing patterns of dark and light regions have been observed moving around the brown dwarf as it rotates - similar to what might be seen on a gas giant planet like Jupiter or Saturn.
"Previous observations suggested that brown dwarfs might have mottled surfaces, but now we can actually map them," said Ian Crossfield from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, the lead author of these findings. "Soon, we will be able to watch cloud patterns form, evolve, and dissipate on this brown dwarf - eventually, exometeorologists may be able to predict whether a visitor to Luhman 16B could expect clear or cloudy skies."