Monthly Archives October 2020

Scientists find rogue planet the size of Mars zooming aimlessly in the Milky Way

Scientists have discovered a lonely orphan planet wandering the Milky Way without a parent star to guide it – a “rogue” planet, stuck in endless darkness with no days, nights, or gravitational siblings to keep it company.

It is possible that our galaxy is filled to the brim with these rogue planets, but this one is particularly unusual for one particular reason: It is the smallest found to date – even smaller than Earth – with a mass similar to that of Mars.

Scientists have discovered more than 4,000 “extrasolar” planets, also known as exoplanets, which are planets orbiting a star other than the sun. Many exoplanets, for example one where it rains liquid iron – are nothing like the planets in our solar system, but they all have one thing in common: they all orbit around a star.

But just a few years ago, Polish astronomers found evidence of free-floating planets, not gravitationally attached to a star, in the Milky Way galaxy. In a new study, the same astronomers have now found the smallest such planet to date.

A rogue planet bends the light of the star behind it, relative to Earth.

Jan Skowron / Astronomical Observatory, University of Warsaw


Exoplanets are difficult to spot, typically found only by observing the light from their host stars. Because the floating planets have no parent star and hardly emit any radiation, astronomers have to take a different approach to find them.

Rogue planets are spotted using gravitational microlenses, the result of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity. In this case, the planet’s gravity (lens) acts like a kind of magnifying glass, able to bend light from a bright star (source) behind it so that an observer on Earth can detect its presence.

“The observer will measure a brief brightening of the source star,” lead author Dr. Przemek Mroz, postdoctoral researcher at the California Institute of Technology, said Thursday. “The chances of observing the microlens are extremely slim because three objects – the source, the objective and the observer – must be almost perfectly aligned. If we were to observe a single source star, we would have to wait close to a million. years to see the source be micro-lensed. ”

Researchers on the lookout for these events monitor hundreds of millions of stars in the center of the galaxy, offering the greatest chance of microlensing.

The Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment, led by astronomers from the University of Warsaw, is one of the largest and longest studies of the sky, operating for more than 28 years. Currently using a telescope at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, astronomers look to the center of the galaxy on a clear night, looking for changes in the brightness of the stars.

Because this technique relies only on the brightness of the source and not the lens, it allows astronomers to spot weak or dark objects, like rogue planets.

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Artist’s impression of a gravitational microlens event by a free-floating planet.

Jan Skowron / Astronomical Observatory, University of Warsaw


Measuring the duration of such an event, in addition to the shape of its light curve, can provide an estimate of the mass of the object that astronomers are looking for. While most observed events, caused by stars, last for several days, small planets only offer a window of a few hours.

In this case, OGLE-2016-BLG-1928, the shortest microlens event on record, only lasted 42 minutes. Based on the event, astronomers estimated that the planet has a mass similar to that of Mars and found it to be uncontrollable.

“When we first spotted this event, it was clear that it must have been caused by an extremely small object,” said co-author Dr Radoslaw Poleski of the Warsaw University Astronomical Observatory. . “If the lens were orbiting a star, we would detect its presence in the light curve of the event. We can rule out that the planet has a star about 8 astronomical units away (the astronomical unit is the distance between the Earth and the Sun). “

It’s not entirely clear why these rogue planets don’t have mother stars, but scientists don’t think the planets had a say in the matter. Rather, they may have originally formed as “ordinary” planets – only to be kicked out of their parent systems after gravitational interactions with other planets.

NASA is currently building the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, which is expected to begin operations in the mid-2020s. Studying these floating planets can help astronomers better understand the unstable histories of young planetary systems, including our own solar system. .


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Strange Earth-sized rogue planet found floating in Milky Way

Scientists have discovered another rogue planet, but this one leaves even experts perplexed: It is slightly smaller than Earth and floats through the Milky Way.

The potential exoplanet likely has a mass similar to that of Mars, researchers said in the study published on the arXiv.org repository. Although rogue planets (those without stars) have been discovered before, they are extremely difficult to spot.

“Our discovery demonstrates that low-mass floating planets can be detected and characterized using ground-based telescopes,” said study co-author Professor Andrzej Udalski, principal investigator of the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment project. (OGLE). A declaration.

Artist’s impression of a gravitational microlens event by a free-floating planet. Credit: Jan Skowron / Astronomical Observatory, University of Warsaw

A MASSIVE LUMINOUS ‘ROGUE’ PLANET SPOTTED ‘DRIFT’ INTO SPACE

Over 4,000 exoplanets have been discovered by NASA in total, most using the transit method. About 50 of these were considered potentially habitable as of September 2018, as they are the right size and orbit for their star to support surface water and, at least theoretically, to support life.

Transit observations allow astronomers to look at a star and see it sink because another object has crossed in front of it. This type of observation will be extended when NASA launches its James Webb Space Telescope in October 2021. The telescope has been delayed in part due to the coronavirus pandemic, Fox News previously reported.

Another technique, used by researchers in the latest discovery, is the “gravitational microlens,” which allows experts to watch objects in the foreground pass in front of objects in the background. The object in the foreground acts like a lens, bending and magnifying the light to reveal certain features of the object in the background.

The event, known as Google-2016-BLG-1928, is the shortest microlens event ever, at just 42 minutes.

“When we first spotted this event, it was clear that it must have been caused by an extremely small object,” added study co-author Dr Radoslaw Poleski.

“The chances of observing the microlens are extremely slim because three objects – the source, the objective and the observer – must be almost perfectly aligned,” added lead author of the study, Przemek Mroz. “If we were to observe only one source star, we would have to wait almost a million years for the source to be microlensed.”

LAKE GALAXY WAY COULD HAVE “OCEANIC WORLDS” EVERYWHERE, SAYS NASA

In August, a separate group of researchers suggested there might be more “rogue” planets than stars in the Milky Way galaxy.

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Rogue Planet discovered it was crossing the Milky Way without a star

There is a “rogue planet” flying through the Milky Way galaxy – a floating world without a host star. Is it really a Death Star? Marvel villain’s starships Annihilus or Galactus? The planet-sized Unicron Transformer? In the year 2020, everything is surely possible but, alas, no. In a recently published study, scientists announced that they had discovered a rogue planet. It appears to be rather small when it comes to exoplanets, with a mass that would be somewhere between that of Earth and Mars.

“Our discovery demonstrates that low-mass floating planets can be detected and characterized using ground-based telescopes,” said study co-author Andrzej Udalski, principal investigator of the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE ) led by the University of Warsaw in Poland.

While astronomers have so far discovered 4,000 exoplanets – and there may be many more rogue planets than planets with host stars – detecting a rogue planet is harder than it looks. because there is no light from a host star for scientists to use to help locate the planet.

The OGLE project, using the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, spotted the rogue planet using a technique known as a gravitational microlens.

As Space.com explains, this method of planet hunting “involves watching foreground objects pass in front of distant background stars. When this happens, the nearest body can act as a gravitational lens. , bending and magnifying the star’s light so as to reveal the mass of the foreground object and other features. “

Lead author of the study, Przemek Mroz of the California Institute of Technology, explained how the chances of such a microlens event are “extremely slim” because it requires perfect alignment of the light source, the lens. telescope and observer lens. “If we were to observe only one source star, we would have to wait almost a million years for the source to be microlensed,” Mroz said.

Star Wars: Every New Planet In The Disney Movies

For more science news, read the evidence for a time-running parallel universe, a cosmic cloud some people claim “Galactus is coming!” , The discovery by NASA of water on the moon, a black widow star that is a source of gamma radiation, the frightening 50-50 chance that we really were living in a simulation, and look at footage from the Osiris spacecraft. Rex landing on an asteroid.



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The Milky Way’s ‘rogue planet’ is the size of Earth, without a parent star

The real Rogue One: Earth-sized planet discovered roaming the Milky Way with no parent star

  • The “floating” planet, linked to no star, was discovered by American and Polish experts
  • Most known planets orbit stars, but the galaxy is probably teeming with such thieves
  • In 2011, for example, the same team found 10 thieves each around Jupiter’s waist.
  • However, the new find is the smallest rogue planet ever to be spotted.

A “floating” planet roughly the size of Earth wandering through the Milky Way – though gravitationally independent of any star – has been discovered, a study has found.

Astronomers from the United States and Poland say this so-called “rogue planet” is the smallest ever identified.

While most of the known planets orbit a star, the team believes our galaxy is teeming with rogue planets, possibly outnumbering the stars in the Milky Way.

In 2011, the team found 10 such objects – each the size of Jupiter, far larger than the current find – that did not have a parent star in all 10 astronomical units.

One astronomical unit is the distance between the Earth and the Sun.

Scientists took advantage of a phenomenon known as a “gravitational microlens” to locate the planet, which was revealed by bending light from more distant stars (as pictured).

Scientists took advantage of an astronomical phenomenon known as a “gravitational microlens” to locate the planet, which was revealed by bending light from the stars farthest behind it.

The result was an effect much like a giant magnifying glass, shining light from a “source” star in the background to reveal the presence of the massive object.

The gravitational microlens are only possible when an astronomer’s telescope is in near perfect alignment with the observed object and the source star.

‘[The] the chances of observing the microlens are extremely slim because three objects – the source, the objective and the observer – must be almost perfectly aligned, ”said author of the article and astronomer Przemek Mroz of the California Institute of Technology .

To spot the rogue planet, the researchers analyzed data collected from microlens surveys of the so-called Galactic Ardennes, the central part of the Milky Way.

The astronomical data was collected by the Warsaw Telescope at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile.

Researchers have said the newly detected planet is the smallest rogue world ever found, with models indicating that it may have mass somewhere between this Earth and its smaller neighbor, Mars.

To spot the rogue planet, the researchers analyzed data collected from microlens surveys of the so-called Galactic Ardennes, the central part of the Milky Way.  Astronomical data was collected by the Warsaw Telescope at Las Campanas Observatory, Chile

To spot the rogue planet, the researchers analyzed data collected from microlens surveys of the so-called Galactic Ardennes, the central part of the Milky Way. Astronomical data was collected by the Warsaw Telescope at Las Campanas Observatory, Chile

The result of the lens phenomenon is an effect that looks a lot like a giant magnifying glass, which shines the light of a star.

The result of the lens phenomenon is an effect much like a giant magnifying glass, which shines light from a background star “source” to reveal the presence of the object.

“When we first spotted this event, it was clear that it must have been caused by an extremely small object,” said author of the article and astronomer Radoslaw Poleski from the University of Warsaw, Poland. .

“We can rule out that the planet has a star in about eight astronomical units.”

Astronomers believe floating planets can form in rotating disks of dense gas and dust around stars – and be violently ejected from their parent planetary systems after gravitational interactions with other bodies.

Studying these objects could allow astronomers to learn more about the turbulent past of planetary systems like ours, the team said.

The full results of the study were published in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

GRAVITATIONAL LENS

Gravitational lensing occurs when a massive galaxy or cluster of galaxies bends the light emitted from a more distant galaxy.

This forms a very magnified image, although it is very distorted.

This is because massive objects curl space-time around them, causing light to travel in a different path.

This theory was first proposed by Einstein in his theory of general relativity.

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