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Wandering Planet

When i saw MST3K's episode on Crash of Moons, i assumed it was just another old movie full of made up science. Who ever heard of a planet that just flies around space instead of orbiting a sun?

Well, color me wrong. The writer of that Rocky Jones, Space Ranger totally knew what they were talking about.

Free-floating planets are planetary-mass objects that roam through space without any ties to a star. Possible examples of such objects have been found before [1], but without knowing their ages, it was not possible for astronomers to know whether they were really planets or brown dwarfs -- "failed" stars that lack the bulk to trigger the reactions that make stars shine.

But astronomers have now discovered an object, labelled CFBDSIR2149 [2], that seems to be part of a nearby stream of young stars known as the AB Doradus Moving Group.


Free-floating objects like CFBDSIR2149 are thought to form either as normal planets that have been booted out of their home systems, or as lone objects like the smallest stars or brown dwarfs. In either case these objects are intriguing -- either as planets without stars, or as the tiniest possible objects in a range spanning from the most massive stars to the smallest brown dwarfs.

"These objects are important, as they can either help us understand more about how planets may be ejected from planetary systems, or how very light objects can arise from the star formation process," says Philippe Delorme. "If this little object is a planet that has been ejected from its native system, it conjures up the striking image of orphaned worlds, drifting in the emptiness of space."

I dunno why they have to call it a "rogue" planet, though. Mebbe it got ejected because it was the only honest planet in a corrupt solar system. We shouldn't judge before we know all of the facts.

By min | November 15, 2012, 11:33 AM | Science