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For the first time, a "ghost planet" has been discovered that has no fixed shape


A massive, inexplicable cosmic ghost that obscured up to 75% of the parent star's light each time it passed by. It is likely a broken planet bietduoc.

Scientists still use the method of "transit" - based on the change in brightness of a star - to identify and measure what passes by it, usually planets. But the changes happening to a pair of stars 2,300 light-years away surprised scientists.

An object that scientists still don't know what to properly call, named TIC 400799224, was found when scientists from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (USA) used an AI to sift through data from NASA's TESS space telescope.


The strange object orbits the binary star in exactly the same way that a planet orbits its parent star, with a period of 19.77 days. Each time it flew across the line of sight from Earth to the pair, it dimmed the light from the pair by 35% to 75%.


The data, however, suggest that it is not a neat spherical planet, but as something of an irregular shape, with most of its "body" made of opaque clouds of gas and dust. It's like there's something small in the middle but emitting so much dust that it forms a giant ghost cloud.


"The nature of this object is difficult to understand because of the large amount of dust emitted. If it was formed by the decay of an object like the asteroid Ceres of the solar system, it only existed for about 8,000 years ago. However, during the 6 years that this object has been monitored, the periodicity and the amount of dust it emits have remained intact "- Dr. Karren Collins, member of the research team, analyzed in Science Alert.


According to a recent paper published in The Astronomical Journal, there are many possible explanations for the nature of this object.


First, it could be a decaying planet, transitioning from a solid to a gaseous state; second, it is a small planet that is having a violent interaction with its parent star, breaking up the continuous matter, forming clouds of gas and dust. Third, it is still a young planet surrounded by the dust cloud of the parent star's protoplanetary disk.


In it, researchers are inclined to the second hypothesis, but many also support the first hypothesis - the disintegration of the planet.


Scientists hope the more modern telescopes that humans continue to create will solve the mystery.

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