(TargetLiberty.org) – NASA has released images of a rare space object they’re calling “the Accident” – and it could have a lot of friends out there.
In 2012, NASA made data from its NEOWISE infrared-imaging satellite available to the public. Now that move has paid off, after an amateur astronomer found an unusual brown dwarf planet that could be as much as 13 billion years old. It also suggests there could be many more brown dwarves in the galaxy than NASA had previously believed.
Brown dwarfs aren’t quite stars and aren’t quite planets. But the discovery of a brown dwarf with strange properties that scientists dubbed “The Accident” suggests there might be more of them lurking in our galaxy than previously thought. Discover more: https://t.co/rX4ERp190g pic.twitter.com/S4FdSVCGPs
— NASA (@NASA) August 31, 2021
A brown dwarf is an object that’s larger than a gas giant planet, but not big enough to start a fusion burn and become a star. They’re big and hot – between 13 and 80 times the size of Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system – but smaller and cooler than stars. They’re also hard to detect. Although scientists believed they existed since the 1960s, none were actually found until 1988.
Now Dan Caselden, a computer security expert from Massachusetts, has accidentally discovered a brown dwarf that’s 50 light-years from Earth and traveling at half a million miles per hour. Stars accelerate slowly, which means it’s been picking up speed for a long time. NASA thinks it’s between ten and 13 billion years old – two or three times as old as Earth. And, if brown dwarves have been around for that long, there are probably a lot of them.
It’s amazing how much we still don’t know about the universe in which we live.
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