A team of scientists has discovered a dwarf star outside the Earth's solar system that is believed to be full of clouds and water vapors. In fact, the dwarf looks strikingly similar to the giant planet in the solar system, Jupiter.
The dwarf planet that the researchers are talking about is located around 7.2 light years away from Earth. It is a type of a low mass star called WISE 0855. The object is similar to Jupiter is appearance and is the coldest known object located outside the solar system.
The report, published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters describes that the extremely low surface temperature of the recently-spotted object makes it the first object after Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn to host water clouds in its visible atmosphere.
The study led by a research team at the University of California at Santa Cruz used Hawaii's Gemini-North telescope and the Gemini Near Infrared Spectrograph to get a clear picture of the infrared spectrum of the object. WISE 0855 was first detected in 2014 by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer.
The spectrum observed by the researchers provides the evidence that such cold objects could possess water clouds. In addition, researchers believe that the data provide an insight into the outer star as well as Jupiter.
The researchers say that spectrum data has revealed that WISE 0855 is dominated by water vapor and clouds with an appearance of Jupiter. The team says that now they have the spectrum data, it will be easier to figure out what exactly is going on in the object.
The team is considering WISE 0855 as their first opportunity to study an extrasolar planetary-mass object that is as cold as the gas giants that exist in the solar system. So far, the team has only studied the chemical and dynamical properties in Jupiter's atmosphere. However, now they will be able to study an extrasolar world.