A rogue planet spotted wandering through space on its own may be even stranger than scientists expected, after new analysis with NASA’s Spitzer space telescope.
The object, CFBDSIR J214947.2-040308.9, is 100 light years away from Earth – and was spotted in 2012.
Scientists are now puzzling over what the mysterious object is – is it a rogue, free-floating planet, or something even stranger?
Scientists now believe that the planet – found in 2012 – might be a ‘brown dwarf’ – an object too small to be a star, but too big to be a planet.
The researchers believe it’s either a young planet (around 500 million years old) – or a much older brown dwarf, ith a mass ranging from two to 40 Jupiter masses.
‘CFBDSIR 2149-0403 is an atypical substellar object that is either a ‘free-floating planet’ or a rare high-metallicity brown dwarf. Or a combination of both,’ said Dr Philippe Delorme from Grenoble Alpes University in France.
‘We now reject our initial hypothesis that CFBDSIR 2149-0403 would be a member of the AB Doradus moving group.
‘Though determining that certainly improved our knowledge of the object it also made it more difficult to study, by adding age as a free parameter.’