Astronomers have identified the first ever 'rogue' planet that wanders around with no star to orbit.
Scientists had suspected that such planets could exist but none had ever been observed until now. Rogue planets are believed to form in one of two ways, either being flung from a solar system or forming in much the same way as a star but never reaching the necessary mass to become one. The planet was found by an international team who searched for the faint infrared glow of a young planet in order to locate it.
The new discovery is approximately 100 light years from the Earth, has a temperature of around 400C and is up to seven times the mass of Jupiter. "We observed hundreds of millions of stars and planets, but we only found one homeless planet in our neighbourhood," said study co-author Etienne Artigau.
"Astronomers have spotted a "rogue planet" - wandering the cosmos without a star to orbit - 100 light-years away."
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Source: BBC News
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