Isolated Planetary-Mass Object Detected In Family Of Stars

Posted: Apr 23 2016, 6:44am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

Isolated Planetary-Mass Object Detected in Family of Stars
Lone Planetary-Mass Object Found in Family of Stars Young Brown Dwarf in TW Hydrae Family of Stars TW Hydrae Family of Stars A young, free-floating world sits alone in space in this illustration. The object, called WISEA J114724.10?204021.3, is thought to be an exceptionally low-mass "brown dwarf," which is a star that lacked enough mass to burn nuclear fuel and glow like a star. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
  • Isolated Heavenly Body detected in Star Cluster

An isolated heavenly body having the mass of a planet was detected in a star cluster.

About five years back, astronomers said that our galaxy, the Milky Way, was crowded with earth-sized planets. These renegade planets that rotated all alone in space didn’t have any accompanying planets or even a sun to shed some warmth and light on them.

The really surprising fact that emerged was that they outnumbered the ratio of stars in the Milky Way. The legitimate question which arose was how did these planets come about in their stark loneliness. Were they ejected from other sources in the vicinity? Or were they brown dwarves?

A recent study conducted using NASA’s WISE and 2MASS technology lent vital clues which might help solve this mystery. A free-floating object with the mass of a planet was found and it was within a star cluster known as the TW Hydrae association.

Termed WISEA 1147, it is many dimensions bigger than Jupiter. It most probably had its origins as a brown dwarf. There is nothing that can lend it the equivalence of a planet.

For one thing, it is relatively young (merely 10 million years old). Most planets take 10 million years in their total formation and it takes more time for them to be isolated from the mother heavenly body.

Therefore, it is probably a brown dwarf. As this brown dwarf is studied further, we may know more about its history and how it underwent the formation process in the crucible of galactogenesis. Especially the isolation of this brown dwarf needs further research. There are billions of similar free-floating worlds that inhabit our galaxy.

Some of these are brown dwarves while others are planets that have been expelled from solar systems. Observing these isolated objects in space has been a difficult proposal.

The reason behind this difficulty in studying these objects is their relative isolation. However, astronomy may be revolutionized thanks to an inquiry into these strange objects which are floating freely in space.

Astronomers looked deep into space and managed to discover these weird objects. This was possible thanks to WISE and 2MASS, which are prized possessions of NASA.

One of the objectives of the study is to see whether some of these free floating objects may not be planets that are home to life forms. It is a courageous quest into the features that characterize our universe. All progress depends on such so-called useless knowledge which might prove useful one fine day in the future.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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