August 2017 • 2017Sci...357..683A
Abstract • Brown dwarfs are objects with masses that are between those of large planets and small stars. They share many features with gas giant planets, particularly conditions in their atmospheres. Apai et al. analyzed how the infrared brightness of three brown dwarfs changes over time. Several perplexing features can be explained if bands of clouds rotating within their atmospheres generate beat patterns. Such bands are seen in optical images of Jupiter but best match infrared images of Neptune. The results shed light on the atmospheric physics of brown dwarfs and gas giant planets around the Sun and other stars.