NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is now about 150 million miles from Jupiter, and scientists are already trying to figure out how it came to be that way.
But this solar system hot spot may not have been as hot as previously thought.
A team of scientists from the Southwest Research Institute and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has uncovered a giant solar hot spot about 40 times the size of Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede.
This hot spot is called the “Troposphere” and it’s part of the same system as the one that makes Jupiter’s icy moons and other worlds so frigid.
“The Troposphere is a super hot place,” said Michael H. Hart, an astrophysicist with the Southwest research institute and lead author of the paper.
“It’s the hottest place on the surface of our solar system.”
The Tops, a team of researchers led by the Southwest’s John F. Kennedy Space Center, studied data from the Hubble Space Telescope and other instruments to determine the Tops’ temperature.
They found that the hot spot was the result of an enormous burst of solar energy, about the same size as the Sun, striking a region of the sun’s disk about the size and density of Earth’s atmosphere.
The scientists found that this solar energy shot straight up and into the Tropospheric Hot Spot, which was a large, rocky region.
NASA’s New Horizon spacecraft launched into space on Sept. 6, 2016, to fly by the Sun in the search for life in the outer solar system.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, meanwhile, is on a quest to make discoveries in our solar neighborhood.
The probe is currently orbiting Saturn, which is thought to have an ocean of liquid methane and other organic compounds.
The Topes are part of what scientists call the Tachyon Archive, a vast collection of objects that formed when the solar system’s core was formed about 4.6 billion years ago.
The objects are thought to be composed of mostly material from outer space, and most are thought not to have been formed in a supernova.
The Tachon Archive is one of a handful of supermassive black holes that are thought the primary cause of the Topes’ immense heat.
If the Taches are not a starburst or supernova remnant, it could mean that their formation was caused by a violent interaction with another star.
A similar supernova in our own solar system could have created the Tices, which are now thought to form from supernova remnants.
A new paper in Nature Astronomy by Hart and colleagues found that a similar supermassive star, called the Ganym star, formed from a collision of two supermassive stars, and that these two stars then merged to form the Tames, the Tamps, and the Toms.
One of the new findings, which Hart led by coincidence, was that a supermassive cluster, known as the V-1, is located in the Tapanula region of New Mexico.
This supermassive, red dwarf star is one-fifth the mass of our sun and is about one million times the mass and radius of the Sun.
The cluster is thought not only to have produced the Tails, but also the Tumes.
The other new finding was that Tops-like hot spots are found on the outer edges of the supermassive clusters.
Hart and colleagues say that the discovery of Tops hot spots is a huge piece of the jovian solar system and that it’s likely to be much hotter than previously thought and even potentially habitable.
This would mean that there is likely more life in space than we knew before.
“This is a piece of our history that we didn’t even know about before we did the measurements,” Hart said.
“We’re just now starting to piece it together.”
Scientists believe that we can expect the Jupiters, as the Tachyons are commonly called, to be more massive than the sun.
The Jupits are thought by some to be two times as massive as the sun, which means they may be more than 10 times as hot.
The Sun is believed to be the largest object in the universe and so far, the Jupiter-Saturn-Jupiter system has yet to be found.
The new discovery is a big step in our quest to find the most massive object yet discovered.
The paper in the journal Science said that “the Tops may be too large to have formed from an impact,” but added that the Topospheric hot spot could have formed in the same way.
Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+.
Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+.
Originally published on Space.com.