ScienceShot: A Brown Dwarf's Mysterious Companion

And you thought Pluto had it bad. Despite being relegated to "dwarf planet" status, at least astronomers have created a term to describe it. Not so for a mysterious object found orbiting a brown dwarf about 450 light-years away in the constellation Taurus. Sporting approximately 10 times the mass of Jupiter, it's too small to be a brown dwarf, which is essentially a failed star. But at an estimated 1 million years old, it's also too young to be a planet, since planets require far more time to accrete out of a surrounding disk of gas, dust, and rock. That would make the object an entirely new type of celestial body, researchers report in the 1 May issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters, but astronomers will need to take a closer look to be sure.