Astronomers have found a planet-like object of unknown nature

In 2012, astronomers discovered in the neighborhood of our system a rather strange isolated space object. According to preliminary calculations, it turned out that its mass is larger than the mass of Jupiter. Based on the collected data, scientists initially took him for one of the so-called wandering planets. The truth is corrected by the fact that we have never seen such wandering planets before. Quite recently a new study was completed, which showed that the object, called CFBDSIR 2149-0403, might not actually be a planet. In this case, the find may be of much greater interest than originally thought.

Despite the fact that most of the planets discovered by science are, as a rule, in the well-defined orbits of their native stars, recently the discovery of so-called wandering planets, or planetary wanderers – planetary objects that were either discarded, became very frequent for astronomers From their star systems, or never have ever been part of any systems and therefore “freely walk” throughout our galaxy. When the researchers first discovered CFBDSIR 2149-0403 in 2012, the discovery aroused interest, if only because the location of this “planet” was very close to our solar system – it is located about 100 light years from us.

Of course, before making any conclusions, scientists usually first conduct an initiation ceremony to check the discovered candidates for the right to be called planets. It also happens that the original brown dwarf is adopted for the planet – an object of the sub-stellar class, heavier than the heaviest known planets in the visible universe, but at the same time possessing a smaller mass compared to even the lightest stars, which is not enough to support the thermonuclear Synthesis.

Based on the data collected in the first study, scientists were able to deduce that the mass of CFBDSIR 2149-0403 is 4-7 times the mass of Jupiter, which would make it possible to write this object in candidates for a wandering planet, since the mass The lightest of the detected brown dwarfs is more than 13 times larger than the mass of Jupiter. In addition, the scientists concluded that the wandering object could sometime belong to the star system AB of the Golden Fish – a group of stars circling around our galaxy, having roughly the same age and, most likely, born in the same place. On the basis of all this, scientists suggested that the object CFBDSIR 2149-0403 can be relatively young, and its age is something between 50 and 120 million years old.

But everything was not as easy as we would like. The fact is that the deduced assumptions about the wandering planet CFBDSIR 2149-0402 were mainly made on the basis of just a few initial observations. For this reason, they were not accepted by all within the scientific community. The nature of this object caused most of all the questions. More precisely, its uncertainty. In the absence of any clear evidence, few could agree that this object can indeed be a planet and does not belong to any of the stellar systems.

To solve this problem, a group of astronomers led by Phillippe Delorme of the University of Grenoble (France) – one of the astronomers who first discovered the object CFBDSIR 2149-0403 – over the past few years, was monitoring the mysterious space body, using a variety of telescopes, Working in the most diverse ranges of the spectrum. Observations ultimately showed that the nature of CFBDSIR 2149-0402 is even more mysterious than it seemed initially.

First, within the framework of new observations, the team of researchers obtained more accurate calculations of its location and direction of its motion, and also found that CFBDSIR 2149-0403 can not be part of the migrating system of Golden Fish stars AB.

“New data on parallax and kinematics of the object exclude the possibility of its belonging to any young moving group, including AB Goldfish,” the team of scientists reports in a work published on the website arXiv.org.

In the matter of classification of this object such a conclusion is at once both good and bad news. The fact is that in addition to providing new information about this facility, it also seriously expands its age limit, proposed in the framework of the very first study.

“The new data, of course, broadened our knowledge of this object, but at the same time raised its age to the status of a free parameter,” Delorme told Phys.org portal.

The researchers also found that the object either has low gravity, or has a high metal content in its composition, showing a high level of metallicity. The new study also reduced the degree of certainty with respect to the mass of the object. Scientists now can not say for sure whether the CFBDSIR is a 2149-0403 planet, or it can be recorded in a class of brown dwarfs.

Based on the information gathered at the moment, two hypotheses can be deduced: CFBDSIR 2149-0403 is either a young (less than 500 million years old) wandering planet with a mass of 2 to 13 times the mass of Jupiter, or it is old (from the age of 2 to 3 billion years) brown dwarf with a very large supply of iron and a mass, 2 to 40 times the mass of Jupiter. However, according to Delorme, this object may in general be something else that we have never met before.

“CFBDSIR 2149-0403 is an unusual, sub-stellar object that is either a” free floating planet “or some extremely rare kind of brown dwarf with a high concentration of metal in its composition. And perhaps – in general is a combination of these two types of objects, “- says Delorme.

The results of the study of scientists from the University of Grenoble were published for scientific review on the portal arXiv.org, so while other astronomers are not familiar with them, it will be too early to draw any conclusions with regard to CFBDSIR 2149-0403. But there is good news: CFBDSIR 2149-0403 is in relative proximity to us, and, therefore, there is an opportunity for further monitoring behind it, which may eventually allow us to establish its true nature. It is possible that science could face a completely new class of planet-like objects, which no one had ever seen before.