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I read an article recently that said NASA has discovered a brown dwarf that has frozen. If we had the technology, resources, and supplies, could we actually freeze a star and stop it from burning its fuels? If so, how would we do it?

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    $\begingroup$ Brown dwarf is by definition not frozen. $\endgroup$ – Anixx Oct 9 '14 at 13:40
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps adding a reference to the article making these claims would help clarify the question. $\endgroup$ – Robert Cartaino Oct 9 '14 at 14:17
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    $\begingroup$ Brown dwarfs also are not true stars. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Oct 9 '14 at 15:53
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    $\begingroup$ Are you referring to WISE J085510.83–071442.5? $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Oct 10 '14 at 1:17
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    $\begingroup$ @HDE226868 It'd be fun to seed one of those coolish dwarfs with some variety of hydrogen oxidizing bacteria ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC184866 wait a billion years, and see what develops. $\endgroup$ – Wayfaring Stranger Oct 16 '14 at 1:28
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If you'd somehow be able to freeze a star and stop nucleosynthesis (fusion) then it would not be a star anymore. By definition, a star needs a temperature high enough to support fusion. This is why brown dwarfs are not true stars.

There are of course stellar remnants (white dwarfs, neutron stars) that have actually crystallised (and are therefore in a solid state). See for instance PSR J2222-0137. One might say they have 'frozen'.

How you might actually do that artificially, I have no idea...

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The reason that this brown dwarf is so cold compared to other stars is that it was never on the main sequence. More specifically, it never reached the hydrogen-1-burning phase of its life. Most stars (including our Sun) fuse elements together (beginning with hydrogen-1), which generates heat. Brown dwarfs do not do this, and thus are much colder than other stars - although, as caters pointed out, some of the more massive ones can fuse deuterium, and possibly lithium.

So that brown dwarf is cold because it was never "hot" in the first place. I highly doubt that we could ever "freeze" a main sequence star, however, because we would have to somehow halt nuclear fusion.

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    $\begingroup$ They do actually fuse deuterium and lithium $\endgroup$ – Caters Oct 15 '14 at 15:14
  • $\begingroup$ @cater I meant to imply hydrogen-1, but evidently I was unclear. Thanks for pointing that out; edit on the way. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Oct 16 '14 at 1:13
  • $\begingroup$ If we were to get a little hydrogen into its solid state and somehow put it on the star than I bet that the rest of the hydrogen will freeze before that little bit becomes plasma, especially if it is put on the relatively cool surface of the star. This would stop nuclear fusion in the star and we would have left solid hydrogen and helium gas. $\endgroup$ – Caters Oct 21 '14 at 15:31
  • $\begingroup$ @caters How could you keep hydrogen that cold and still get it on the star in that state? $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Oct 21 '14 at 17:28

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