James Webb Telescope Unveils New Interstellar Object, Expanding Understanding of Cosmic Phenomena

The telescope has discovered pairs of flee-floating planet-sized objects that have been dubbed ‘JuMBOs’.

James Webb telescope makes 'JuMBO' discovery of planet-like objects in  Orion - BBC News

A brand new interstellar mystery has left astronomers scratching their heads this week and it comes courtesy of the remarkable resolution and infrared sensitivity of the James Webb Space Telescope.

The James Webb telescope observed about 40 Jupiter-mass binary objects (JUMBO) pairs in total. This image picks out five of them

Known as Jupiter Mass Binary Objects – these mysterious ‘planets’, which seem to occur in pairs, are (as the name suggests) around the size of Jupiter and have been found wandering the interstellar void far from any solar system in the depths of the Orion Nebula.

This short-wavelength infrared image of the Orion Nebula shows a young star and its protoplanetary disk being sculpted by the intense ultraviolet radiation and winds from the massive Trapezium stars that lie at the centre of the region

Exactly how such objects come about remains unclear.

One possibility is that they form around a star before being kicked out into interstellar space, while another is that they form inside regions of a nebula that are not dense enough for stars to form.

Short-wavelength infrared image of the Orion Nebula shows bright 'fingers' of gas racing away from an explosion that occurred roughly 500 to 1000 years ago in the heart of a dense molecular cloud behind the nebula, perhaps as two young massive stars collided

“The ejection hypothesis is the favored one at the moment,” the European Space Agency’s senior science adviser Prof Mark McCaughrean told BBC News.

“Gas physics suggests you shouldn’t be able to make objects with the mass of Jupiter on their own, and we know single planets can get kicked out from star systems. But how do you kick out pairs of these things together?”

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST, depicted here in space) is the largest, most powerful space telescope ever built

“Right now, we don’t have an answer. It’s one for the theoreticians.”


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