A 10-million year old cross between a planet and a brown dwarf sailing through space has been discovered.
The mass, named 2MASS J11193254−1137466, and discovered by North American researchers, is believed to be the second-brightest free-floating planetary object known to science, Cosmos Magazine reported on Monday.
The object is between four to eight times the size of Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System, and does not have a parent star.
Researchers are frequently on the look-out for isolated planet-like objects like 2MASS because they enable cool, low-pressure atmospheres to be studied.
The Canadian researchers believe that the strange orb, which does not have a star, could help them know more about how planets form outside our solar system.
The planet’s unique light signature was discovered using data from US space agency NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer and other ground-based telescopes.
According to Jacqueline Faherty from the Carnegie Institute of Washington, identify such rare objects in the vast expanse of space lies in telling them apart from potential interlopers.
“Much more commonly, distant old and red stars residing in the far corners of our galaxy can display the same characteristics as nearby planet-like objects,” says Faherty.
With its of 10 million years, the mass is considered to be very young on a galactic time scale.