In 2015, astronomers discovered two rogue gas planets four times the size of Jupiter wandering together in Space. Exoplanets come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and compositions, though most are bound orbiting a host star… but in our vast, infinite universe, there always seems to be exceptions. Enter 2MASS J11193254–1137466AB, a rogue planet described as a free floating Jupiter that turns out to be two objects. This untethered planetary mass described as a binary system has no host star and resides in an area in space characterized by very young low-mass stars and substellar objects called the TW Hydrae association.This region is approximately 160 light years away and astronomers estimate that these two orbiting gas giants are about 10 million years old.
William Best of the Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii, led the team that discovered 2MASS J11193254–1137466AB. While following up on an extremely red low-gravity dwarf star, the team utilizing the Keck II telescope in Hawaii were surprised to find out that this rogue Jupiter was in fact two equal sized objects orbiting each other. Each planet slash object is nearly four times the mass of Jupiter and appear gravitationally bound to one another separated at a distance of about 4x that of Jupiter to Earth.
Once confirmed, 2MASS J11193254–1137466AB will be the first binary rogue planet duo ever discovered. Unless it turns out to be yet another alien battle station come to destroy our precious planet. At least humanity had a good run, right?
These guys or gals are quite the unique pair, and though nothing else similar to this has been yet uncovered, one can only imagine what other exoplanet possibilities lies out there floating around in our vast cosmos.
Star: N/A (Unique)
Distance From Earth: 160 Light-years
Habitable Zone: No
Planet Type: Gas Giant
Mass: ~5–10 MJup (Aprox 4x Jupiter)
Evolutionary Stage: Sub-brown dwarf
Discoverer: William Best led team
Discovery Method: Brown Dwarf Moving Group Association
Site: Hawaii Status: Confirmed