I suppose, before I start, that I ought to apologise to any Americans reading this, but would it be too much to ask for some cold weather? A bit of frost, maybe? I know snow is probably off the menu for this year, seeing as it’s all been sent to the States, but if whoever is in charge of the global weather department (British division) is reading this, could you please turn the taps off before this country overflows?
I know I ought to be used to living in an atmosphere of grey cotton wool, and I had my family waterproofed some years ago, but still, I have not yet fully developed my gills, and my new fins have not, so far, arrived from ebay (apparently suppliers are working overtime).
I shouldn’t complain really; I don’t have a rowing boat moored to the bottom of the stairs, because I don’t live on a flood plain, or anywhere near the seafront at Aberystwyth, but last week it started raining in my son’s bedroom, and there is a damp patch the size of Australia in the easterly corner of my kitchen.
The weather forecast today is something on the lines of, ‘We have a low weather front lining up in the Atlantic for today and another one arriving for tomorrow. There are flood alerts here, here and here. The only person not at risk of flood damage is Nelson, although we can’t say the same for his column.’ Actually, I made that last bit up. I had to, because I’m not sure the forecasters are bothering to turn up for work anymore; it’s been the same weather since November.
However, even if in America you’re finding it hard to breathe, and your kettle keeps freezing as soon as it’s boiled, spare a thought for one special brown dwarf star system – Luhman 16AB, home of the closest pair of brown dwarfs to Earth.
At just 6.5 light-years away, it is the third-closest system of any kind to our Sun, and the closest to the nearby star of Alpha Centauri.
Scientists using Nasa’s Spitzer telescope detected hurricane-force winds of 100-400 mph and temperatures of up to 1,227C. Which sounds quite toasty warm, but the astronomers also found clouds covering 50% of the brown dwarfs’ surfaces and they think the ‘rain’ is molten iron. Still, no mud, and I could always get my brolly reinforced…