They are not stars, they are not planets and “they should not exist.” The new discovery from the James Webb telescope goes against everything scientists have studied so far. And it’s not just the size of the objects found near the Orion Nebula that defies the limits of physics, but also the way they move.
The European Space Agency (ESA) announced this Monday that captured 42 objects in space, which it called JuMBOs, short for Jupiter Mass Binary Objectwhich could give rise to a new category of stars.
This is because JuMBOs, which must be around a million years old, “are too small to be stars,” but they also cannot be considered planets since “they do not orbit any star.” And there is another peculiarity: they move in pairs.
Although there are already theories about the formation of objects, none understand the reason for this form of movement. One says the JuMBOs may have been created in a region of the nebula, “where the density of the material was insufficient to form straight stars,” and another says they may have been born “around stars that then ejected them into space.”
“This hypothesis is the favorite at the moment,” ESA professor Mark McCaughrean told the BBC. “Gas physics suggests that it should not be possible to create Jupiter-mass objects on their own, and we also know that individual planets can be ejected from star systems. But how do you eject pairs of these objects together?,” he asked.
“It would be like throwing a cup of tea across the room and the pieces falling together.”said Samuel Pearson, a scientist at the same agency.
Although the answers are few, the discovery of such a small object in space is a big step for scientists.
We were looking for these small objects and we found them. We found them as small as the mass of Jupiter, or even half the mass of Jupiter, floating freely, not attached to a star,” he said, quoted by The Guardian. “Physics says that it is not even possible to make objects that small. We wanted to see if we could break physics. And I think we accomplished that, which is good.”
The JuMBOs are located 1,350 light years from Earth, being separated by about 200 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun, “orbiting on trajectories that take more than 20,000 years to complete,” explained The New York Times.