Astronomers find a mysterious, highly metallic isolated object in Space, larger than Jupiter

According to spectroscopic data, the objects contains both methane and water. Furthermore, astronomers say it is a highly METALLIC object, and it’s more massive than Jupiter.

Their conclusions are summed up in an article which recently appeared in

Scientists cannot agree on the nature of a mysterious object dubbed CFBDSIR 2149-0403. On one hand, scientists reaffirm the possibility that the object is a young solitary planet, although it could also be a brown dwarf of very low mass and high metallicity.

While searching for exoplanets in the universe, astronomers have come across really weird objects that defy everything we know about space.

Located at an approximate distance of 143 light-years from Earth, the mysterious object—CFBDSIR 2149-0403—is commonly referred to as a “free-floating planetary mass object”. Originally found in 2012 by a group of French and Canadian Astronomers, the enigmatic object has created quite a buzz among experts.


Artist’s impression of the free-floating object known as CFBDSIR J~214947.2-040308.9. Credit: ESO/L. Calçada/P. Delorme/R. Saito/VVV Consortium.


According to spectroscopic data, the objects contains both methane and water. Furthermore, astronomers say it is a highly METALLIC object, and it’s more massive than Jupiter.

Since its discovery in 2012, astronomers have determined it to be a candidate for a ‘rogue planet’,  after realizing that it was smaller than the classification of brown dwarfs which are more than 13 times larger than Jupiter.

Looking at the bigger picture, in previous studies astronomers found that the object was moving in a group with other bodies (the AB Doradus moving group), orbiting our galaxy. Based on data, astronomers determined that the objects were between 50 million to 120 million years old, which is young compared to the age of the universe.

(AB Doradus, is a group of about thirty stars that move through space.)

However, scientists cannot agree whether it’s a rogue planet or something else.

First of all, experts have still not found evidence that CFBDSIR 2149-0403 is part—or was part—of a solar system.

Further studies determined that based on the movement of the object, it isn’t moving in a group, something that has made it hard for astronomers to determine its mass. This has led some astronomers from considering that it may be a dwarf with a higher mass.

“We now reject our initial hypothesis that CFBDSIR 2149-0403 would be a member of the AB Doradus moving group,” said Delorme. “This removes the most robust age constraint we had. 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.”

The most important conclusion of this new study is that CFBDSIR 2149-0403 is in all likelihood, an isolated planetary mass less than 500 million years old, with a mass between two and thirteen times that of Jupiter; Or an older brown dwarf, between 2,000 and 3,000 million years old, with a mass that oscillates between two and forty times that of Jupiter.

Experts acknowledge that our current understanding of the object is not yet sufficient to conclude which of the two hypotheses is correct.

But there’s another possibility.

More interesting than the two theories above, some astronomers suggest that the objects cannot be classified as neither a rogue planet nor a brown dwarf and that we need to come up with an entirely new explanation. That’s of course if you

Countless questions remain unanswered.

We do not know how CFBDSIR 2149-0403 was formed. In case that it is a planet, we have absolutely no idea how it manged to end up in its current position, so far from any star.

We also do not know what the readings of water and methane captured in its atmosphere mean, whether it is one of thousands of similar objects or, on the contrary, something unique.

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