They found an Earth-sized planet floating free in space

During that period, they observed the detected exoplanets indirectly by measuring how much their gravity distorted and amplified the light from the distant stars behind them, an effect known as microlensing.

Exactly as they exist Planets orbiting a star in an orderly fashion formation of the solar system, There are other worlds In the Milky Way and other galaxies that exist wandering vagabonds It floats freely, isolated from any host star.

It likely formed in the same way as other planets, i.e. inside the rotating disk of gas and dust that surrounds a young star. These worlds are being violently expelled from their celestial quarters into outer space beyond your solar system.

In a recent investigation, Scientists from NASA and Osaka University in Japan published two Articles in astronomical journal, In that they assert that these worlds are in the billions because they are six times more than the worlds that revolve around their suns. In the same scientific studies, they identified the second Earth-sized free-floating planet recorded so far.

Planets can only be expelled from their star systems by larger bodies

To better study these rogue worlds, david Bennett, astronomer NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centerand your team I used 9 years of data From observations of microlensing at the Astrophysical Telescope at the Mount John Observatory at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. during that time Observation of exoplanets discovered indirectly measuring how their gravity distorts and amplifies the light from distant stars behind them, an effect known as microlensing.

With the help of computer models, The researchers calculated the dispersion of masses for more than 3,500 microlens events. These included stars, remnants of stars, brown dwarfs and new planet candidates. That same data was convincing enough for the team to claim the discovery of a new, floating, mobile Earth.) From this analysis, they estimate that there are about 20 times more free worlds in our Milky Way than there are stars, and that Earth-mass planets are 180 times more common than planets. rogue buyer.

Just as there are planets orbiting a star in an orderly manner and forming a solar system, there are other worlds in the Milky Way and other galaxies that roam freely, isolated from any host star.

For a long time, Astronomers and astrophysicists calculated that these planets were really big, about the size of Jupiter. But this theory has been rejected in recent years. “The conclusion that most rogue worlds are small makes more sense than the idea that they are the size of Jupiter,” said astrophysicist Dr. Bennett. This is because planets are believed to go rogue when two protoplanets collide with each other. The force of the impact is so strong that it completely expels him from the nascent star system.

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but Planets can only be expelled from their star systems by larger bodies. If most of these orphan stars are Jupiter-sized, many so-called super-Jupiters must be orbiting host stars, but these are rare. On the other hand, these results indicate that planets with lower masses are at risk of ejection. He also said that the abundance of free-floating objects in the Milky Way indicates that planetary-sized objects colliding with each other during the formation process “may be more common than theorists imagine.”

przymek Mroz, An astronomer at the University of Warsaw who was not involved in the work said the group’s findings were bolstered Indications former Reported in Nature about rogue worlds through observations made using the Gravitational Lensing Optical Experiment and the Korea Network of Microlensing Telescopes. “So now we have three independent studios and three production lines. Independent evidence that free-floating, low-mass planets are very common in the Milky WayHe pointed out to The New York Times.

Researchers calculated the mass dispersion of more than 3,500 microlensing events, including stars, stellar remnants, brown dwarfs and new planet candidates (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP)

Experts still question whether these planets were actually liberated or ejected into orbits wide enough that scientists could not link them to a host star. Mroz thinks the observed population may have a mixture of both, but that it would be difficult to deduce the relative numbers of both from microlensing measurements alone.

With the next launch in 2027 of the new Nancy Grace Romanian Space Telescope NASA astronomers hope to get better data on floating planets, as this powerful instrument can detect hundreds of rogue planets. Combined with that data from the European Space Agency’s Euclid telescope, or well-placed ground-based observatories, scientists will be able to measure mass more directly, with less reliance on models.

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Could any of these planets be habitable? “maybe”, Bennett guessed, explaining that it would be dark without a host star, but not necessarily very cold. Hydrogen in the planet’s atmosphere could act as a greenhouse, trapping heat from its interior, which supports microbial life in Earth’s deep sea vents.

And although the team didn’t look beyond the Milky Way, they estimate that the same is true of other galaxies as well. “We expect other galaxies to be quite similar,” he concluded.

Read on:

Could the Earth have formed earlier than previously thought?
What will the planet look like in 2100?
“I think there is life in the universe,” said Bill Nelson, head of NASA.

Lovell Loxley

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