What Is It?

Scientists from the University of Toronto have found an object about 500 light years away that may change what we call a planet or a star.

The image above of the system from the Keck telescope shows the star in the center and ROXs 42Bb orbiting about 150 astronomical units (AU). (1 AU=the distance from Earth to the Sun.)

“We have very detailed measurements of this object spanning seven years, even a spectrum revealing its gravity, temperature, and molecular composition. Still, we can’t yet determine whether it is a planet or a failed star — what we call a ‘brown dwarf’. Depending on what measurement you consider, the answer could be either,” said Thayne Currie, a post-doctoral fellow in U of T’s Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Analysis of ROXs 42Bb’s spectra over time hasn’t helped determine what the object is.  Is it a failed star (a brown dwarf) or a large Jupiter?  So, it doesn’t quite fit what we know.

Go figure that the Universe wouldn’t adhere to what we want it to.  Dang Universe.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +