Space has some strange places and the Milky Way is no exception. These 5 barely begin to scratch the surface. Read on to learn more about some of the weirdest strange places in our galactic back yard.
Strange Place: Blackhole Graveyard
Palomar 5 is a globular cluster 65,000 light years away from Earth that orbits in the halo of the Milky Way. What’s intriguing is he cluster has over 100 black holes. Palomar 5 is over 10 billion years old, meaning it formed at the inception of the galaxy. The age of the cluster means the stars are slowly dissipating and flowing away from cluster and out of the galaxy.
The Diamond Planet
PSR J1719-1438b is a planet whose core is oxygen and diamond crushed into a crystalline form. The planet has a mass of 1.2 Jupiter’s despite being 40% of its size. It’s also so close to its host star that the planets orbit would fit inside of our Sun.
One of the more fascinating aspects of this planet is that its host star is a pulsar making 10,000 rotations a minute. Pulsars are neutron starts that emit a beam of radiation. Neutron stars form after a star goes supernova. Pulsars are incredibly massive and incredibly small. This means PSR J1719-1438b is actually larger than its host star. So how does a planet survive a star’s supernova and continue to orbit a pulsar? Astronomers believe that it was initially a binary system and that PSR J1719-1438b is the remnants of a star.
Long Distance Relationship Solar System
Coconuts-2b and its host star Coconuts-2A are just 35 light years away from Earth, one of the closest exoplanets. The interesting thing about Coconuts-2b is that it is 6 times the size of Jupiter and orbits its host star at a whopping 6,000 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun. When astronomers discovered the planet in 2011, they believed it was a rogue planet.
Astronomers usually discover exoplanets when the planet passed in front of its host star, dimming the light observed. Instead, astronomers found Coconuts-2b because of waste heat built up during the planet’s formation, which is visible in the infrared spectrum.
Speed Racing Star
PSR J0002+6216 is a rogue star travelling at 1,130 kilometers (700 miles) per second through space. This star could get from the Earth to the Moon in 6 minutes. PSR J0002+6216 is what is considered a “hypervelocity star“. There are a few of these stars in the Milky Way but this one has a more clear origin. A supernova created PSR J0002+6216 in an explosion so powerful that it shot this rogue star shot like a cannonball through space.
Magnetic Rogue Planet
SIMP J01365663+0933473 is just a measly 20 light years from Earth and is a rogue planet meaning it doesn’t have a solar system. When it was first discovered in 2016 it was believed to be a brown dwarf. Brown dwarfs don’t fuse hydrogen, so astronomers call them “failed stars”. J01365663 contains 12 times more mass than Jupiter. Brown dwarfs usually have 15-75 times more mass so it is easy to understand why astronomers believed it was a brown dwarf. In addition to being 12 times the mass of Jupiter J01365663 has a magnetic field 200 times stronger than Jupiter’s, meaning its magnetic field is 16-54 stronger than Earths.
Space has many strange places lurking out there far from us. Even large swaths of our own galaxy remain a mystery. We are discovering new things every day about what’s out there and finding new weirdness.