Astronomers made one of the most baffling discoveries in our galactic neighborhood back in 2012. The object, a strangely isolated and “highly metallic” body detected in deep space, was unlike anything that scientists had ever seen.
Five years after it was first discovered, astronomers are still debating its nature and origin. The ongoing debate among scientists has sparked speculation that the mysterious space object could be a massive piece of extraterrestrial technology that proves that we are not alone in the universe.
Astronomers first spotted the mysterious object in 2012. The weird deep space object was described as a “perplexing isolated” object located about 100 light years away from our Sun.
Its mass was estimated at about four to seven times that of Jupiter, the biggest planet in our solar system.
Astronomers Detect MASSIVE, low gravity, “High Metallic” Object In Space orbiting our galaxyhttps://t.co/jPkRMHeaJx
— Fay Moore (@MooreFay) March 15, 2017
At the time that the object, named CFBDSIR 2149-0403, was first discovered, astronomers assumed it was a rogue planet, the closest ever found. But after years of study, researchers began re-examining the evidence, and many came to the conclusion that it was unlikely to be a “rogue planet.”
The term “rogue planet,” refers to a planet that has been thrown out of the orbit of its parent star, according to Science Alert. It also refers to a planet-like space object that never had a parent star, but it has been orbiting in space around the galactic center since it was formed.
Evidence that the object was unlikely to be a rouge planet led some researchers to propose that it could be a brown dwarf star. But the suggestion was also eventually rejected as unlikely because the object was too small to be a brown dwarf, being only about four to seven times more massive than Jupiter.
The smallest known brown dwarfs are at least 13 times more massive than Jupiter.
Is a rogue world wandering 100 light years from Earth? Weird planet-like object baffles astronomers https://t.co/gMPuZCde9W
— Tuck's News (@tucksnews) March 15, 2017
Further observation of the object traveling in space led to the suggestion that it was part of a group of space objects called the AB Doradus group, consisting of objects of similar age, history, and origin orbiting our galaxy together, according to Phys.org.
Based on the assumption that CFBDSIR 2149-0403 was part of the AB Doradus group of objects, astronomers estimated its age at about 50 to 120 million years.
But eventually, a team of researchers from the Grenoble Alpes University in France, led by Phillippe Delorme, published a study that ruled out the possibility that CFBDSIR 2149-0403 was part of any known group of objects moving in space, including the AB Doradus group.
Careful observation led to the realization that CFBDSIR 2149-0403 was not traveling as part of the AB Doradus group as previously thought.
“Our new… parallax and kinematics safely rule out membership to any known young moving group, including AB~Doradus.”
— ThePhaser.com (@thePhaserdotcom) March 15, 2017
The discovery that the object was not part of the AB Doradus group led to the conclusion that it was possibly not as young as previously thought.
Delorme and his team also determined that CFBDSIR 2149-0403 either has a low gravity or an unusually high metallicity. The new observations increased researchers’ uncertainty about the object’s mass thus they were even less certain than before whether to characterize it as a planet or a brown dwarf.
ASTRONOMERS DISCOVERED AN UNKNOWN HIGH METALLIC OBJECT MORE MASSIVE THAN JUPITER! https://t.co/GWonpklC6x
— Stephen Beard (@AnAwakeAmerican) March 15, 2017
But despite the deepening mystery, scientists believe that CFBDSIR 2149-0403 is either a young rogue planet or a highly metallic brown dwarf.
But this has not stopped speculation that CFBDSIR 2149-0403 could be something that scientists are unwilling to talk about openly, which is an artificial structure that could prove that human civilization is not the only technological civilization in the universe.
Alien and UFO enthusiasts have discussed the possibility that CFBDSIR 2149-0403 could the product of an advanced extraterrestrial technology, and thus, proof of extraterrestrial intelligence.
[Featured Image by Marc Ward/Getty Images]