Astronomers have found a “rogue” planet floating through our galaxy, invisible to any sun.
The “free-floating” Earth is slightly smaller than Earth, making it the most sought-after planet
However, in the Milky Way it could be a number of rogue planets, and scientists have suggested that they could surpass the stars in our galaxy.
Such planets are impossible to observe using traditional orbital techniques: since they do not orbit the Sun by definition, and because they move in front of the stars, this is why they are frequently orbiting the Sun at such a high speed. Frequent Frequent Frequent Frequent Frequent Frequent Frequent Frequent Frequent Frequent Frequent Frequent Frequent Frequent Frequent Frequent))
Instead, scientists used an astronomical phenomenon known as “gravitational microlensing” to identify the planet, which manifested itself by bending in the light of more distant stars.
The result was an effect much like a giant magnifying glass, illuminating light from a background “source” star to reveal the presence of a giant object.
Gravitational microlending is only possible when an astronomical telescope is in almost perfect alignment with the observed object and the source star. This is rare: if astronomers were to look at just one star, they would only have one chance to try such a technique every million years.
“The possibility of microlending observations is extremely slim because the three objects – the source, the lens and the observer – must be almost perfect,” said Prazek Moroz, a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology and lead author of the study, published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Researchers examined data collected from a microlensing survey of galactic bulbs, which are the central part of the Milky Way.
They used the 1.3-meter Warsaw Telescope at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile to gather data.
Researchers say the newly discovered planet is the smallest rogue Earth ever found on Earth, with models indicating that it may have a mass somewhere between Earth and Mars.
Rodosla Poleski, co-author of the study at the Astronomical Observatory at the University of Warsaw, said: “When we first identified the phenomenon, it was clear that it was caused by a tiny object.
“We can star the planet into about eight astronomical units.”
Astronomers believe that free-floating planets may have formed dense gas and dust rotating disks around the stars and that they were expelled from their parent planetary system after interacting gravitationally with other bodies.
They say that the study of these issues could enable astronomers to learn more about the turbulent past of planetary systems such as the solar system.
‘A Terrestrial-Mass Rug Planet Candidate Detected in Short-Timescale Microlensing Event’, an article describing this information was published today Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Additional reporting by the Press Association