This beautiful blue mass, has was found as astronomers searched for brown dwarf stars, and for a while that’s what they thought this was. But this week astronomers are reporting that CFBDSIR2149 is actually a unique planet.
Said to be four to seven times larger than Jupiter, the wandering planet orbits no star and instead floats freely in the space. This, of course, goes against how our own solar system’s eight planets are known to function. Our neighboring planets all orbit the sun, pulled in by the massive gravitational pull.
So why doesn’t this mystery planet orbit its own sun?
Astronomers believe that the planet was either ejected from an unknown star system, or it somehow formed independently. Interestingly, this isn’t the only such planet. About a dozen planetary masses were identified 10 years ago in the Orion Nebula, with similar characteristics. But this new planet is by far the closest to Earth, just 130 light-years away.
While scientists are still mystified by the odd planet, studying it will be less challenging that you would think. The absence of bright light from a nearby star also means less glare. So conditions for studying the new planet with our telescopes are terrific.