The newly discovered rogue Earth-like planet could be the smallest free-floating...

The newly discovered rogue Earth-like planet could be the smallest free-floating...
The newly discovered rogue Earth-like planet could be the smallest free-floating...

FP-TrendOct 30, 2020 2:08:30 PM IST

The earth is part of a solar system in which several planets revolve around a star. It is the gravitational pull of the sun that keeps the worlds in their fixed orbits in a uniform manner. While such solar systems abound in the Milky Way, there are millions of rogue planets in the galaxy that do not have a central star to revolve around and instead simply go their own way in space.

Scientists have found around 4,000 exoplanets and some rogue planets, but a recent discovery surprised them. Researchers have found a world that is as big as the earth and travels alone without a family. This could be the smallest rogue world ever discovered.

The artistic impression of a gravitational microlens event of a free-floating planet. Photo credit: Jan Skowron / Astronomical Observatory, University of Warsaw

Of the many rogue planets found so far, most are massive, often ranging from two to 40 times the mass of Jupiter (it’s important to remember that Jupiter is about 300 Earths). With the discovery of the youngest free world, scientists are studying the possibility of the widespread existence of small rogue planets.

Lead study author Przemek Mroz, a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology, said Live Science in an email that the probability of “recognizing an object with such a small mass is extremely low”. So this means that they were either “very lucky or such objects are very common in the Milky Way”. he goes on to say that they could be “as common as stars”.

Experts use the light from a star to capture the various exoplanets. So it is very difficult to see a world without a star. In addition, it is much more difficult for a planet that is between Earth and Mars in terms of mass to identify it. To hunt the world, the scientists used “gravitational microlenses” in which foreground objects move past distant background stars. As part of the project, the team used a 1.3-meter telescope at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile to monitor millions of stars near the center of the Milky Way on every clear night.

The new study was released online on October 29th in Astrophysical diary letters.

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