‘Rogue planet’ spotted 100 light-years away

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Astronomers have spotted a “rogue planet” – wandering the cosmos without a star to orbit – 100 light-years away.


Recent finds of such planets have suggested that they may be common, but candidates have eluded close study.

The proximity of the new rogue planet has allowed astronomers to guess its age: a comparatively young 50-120 million years old.

The planet, dubbed CFBDSIR2149-0403, is outlined in a paper posted online to appear in Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Rogue planets are believed to form in one of two ways: in much the same way as planets bound to stars, coalescing from a disk of dust and debris but then thrown out of a host star’s orbit, or in much the same way as stars but never reaching a full star’s mass.

One tricky part is determining if rogue planet candidates are as massive as the “failed stars” known as brown dwarfs, further along in stellar evolution but without enough mass to spark the nuclear fusion that causes starlight.

Either way, the objects end up free of a host star’s gravity. Given that most planets we know of are found through the effects they have on their host star’s light, pinning down rogue planets has proven difficult.

An international team went on a vast hunt for the planets using the Canada France Hawaii Telescope on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea and the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, looking for the infrared light that warm, young planets give off – and they came up with just one candidate.

Written By: BBC News
continue to source article at bbc.co.uk

19 COMMENTS

  1. What’s the universe coming to? Back in my day you didn’t have this kind of carry on. I wonder if Mitt Romney is hoping he doesn’t get this planet to rule as punishment for losing the election…

  2. When galaxies or clusters ‘collide’, surely there will be a lot of stars and planets that get thrown out of the gravitational influence of either group, meaning there would be quite a number of these loners aimlessly zooming around in the darkness.  I’ve seen galaxy collision video simulations with many stars that disappear off the screen at rates that would force them to ‘leave the party early’ – as Hitch would say.

  3. Matt G
    Rogue planets with no host star? Stars leaving their galaxies at 2% the speed of light? What is going on in this universe?

    They don’t all have to be this slow!

    Since Brown’s 2005 discovery, at least 21 hypervelocity stars (as they’ve come to be called) have been observed speeding out of our galaxy. But only recently did anyone look to see if there might be hypervelocity planets, as well. “My collaborator Idan Ginsburg and I did some work on hypervelocity stars, and at some point, I was talking with him about perhaps looking into planets,” Loeb says. “One day, at lunch, it clicked: we could actually write a paper on them, because there is a method of finding them.” –

    http://blogs.smithsonianmag.co

    Hypervelocity planets can indeed exist—and according to the research team’s simulations, they may approach speeds as high as 30 million miles per hour, making them some of the fastest-moving objects in the known universe.

  4. There are suggestions that wandering planets and asteroid/comet type objects are quite commeon, but they are very difficult to see at a distance.  The effects of their gravity are usually the first indication of their presence.

     
    New Planet Found in Our Solar System?

     http://news.nationalgeographic

    Mystery Planet a Captured Rogue?
    For the new work, Gomes analyzed the orbits of 92 Kuiper belt objects, then compared his results to computer models of how the bodies should be distributed, with and without an additional planet.

    If there’s no distant world, Gomes concludes, the models don’t produce the highly elongated orbits we see for six of the objects.

    How big exactly the planetary body might be isn’t clear, but there are a lot of possibilities, Gomes added.

    Based on his calculations, Gomes thinks a Neptune-size world, about four times bigger than Earth, orbiting 140 billion miles (225 billion kilometers) away from the sun—about 1,500 times farther than Earth—would
    do the trick.

    But so would a Mars-size object—roughly half Earth’s size—in a highly elongated orbit that would occasionally bring the body sweeping to within 5 billion miles (8 billion kilometers) of the sun.

    Gomes speculates that the mystery object could be a rogue planet that was kicked out of its own star system and later
    ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬
    captured by the sun’s gravity.
    ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬
    (See “‘Nomad’ Planets More Common Than Thought, May Orbit Black Holes.”)
    Or the putative planet could have formed closer to our sun, only to be cast outward by gravitational encounters with other planets.

    There is also the possibility of stars capturing planets or planetoids when passing other stars.

      http://www.sciencebase.com/sed… –

    Did our Sun capture alien worlds? Close encounter may explain some objects beyond Neptune

    Computer simulations show a close encounter with a passing star about 4 billion years ago may have given our solar system its abrupt edge and put small, alien worlds into
    distant orbits around our sun.

     

    http://www.eurekalert.org/imag

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