A Jupiter-Like Rogue Planet Wanders Alone in the Dark of Space

Jupiter-Like Rogue Planet

This artist’s conception illustrates a Jupiter-like planet alone in the dark of space, floating freely without a parent star. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This artist’s conception illustrates a Jupiter-like planet alone in the dark of space, floating freely without a parent star.

Exoplanet hunters have found thousands of planets, most orbiting close to their host stars, but relatively few alien worlds have been detected that float freely through the galaxy as so-called rogue planets, not bound to any star. Many astronomers believe that these planets are more common than we know, but that our planet-finding techniques haven’t been up to the task of locating them.

A planet survey, called the Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics (MOA), scanned the central bulge of our Milky Way galaxy from 2006 to 2007. It used a 5.9-foot (1.8-meter) telescope at Mount John University Observatory in New Zealand, and a technique called gravitational microlensing. In this method, a planet-sized body is identified indirectly as it just happens to pass in front of a more distant star, causing the star to brighten. The effect is like a cosmic funhouse mirror, or magnifying lens – light from the background star is warped and amplified, becoming brighter.

Using the latest technology, NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will conduct a survey to discover many more exoplanets using powerful techniques available to a wide-field telescope.

11 Comments on "A Jupiter-Like Rogue Planet Wanders Alone in the Dark of Space"

  1. Awesome stuff.

  2. Planet x

  3. Is it a planet without a star?

  4. Yes.

    “…a Jupiter-like planet alone in the dark of space, floating freely without a parent star.”

  5. Robert Madison | February 11, 2022 at 6:01 pm | Reply

    Click bait. No actual planet was discovered.

  6. These planets are not “freely floating”. They just orbit the centre of the galaxy rather than a star.

  7. Not all who wander are lost.

  8. Cool and awesome stuff

  9. Click-bait indeed. Channel continues to deteriorate.

  10. If this free floating planet enters a stellar nebula and accreitation occurs, it will become a future star.

  11. Anshuman Swain | February 15, 2022 at 6:16 am | Reply

    Fascinating

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