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'Homeless' planet without a star discovered

Posted on Thursday, 15 November, 2012 | Comment icon 30 comments | News tip by: Still Waters

Image credit: NASA

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."

  View: Full article |  Source: BBC News

  Discuss: View comments (30)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #21 Posted by Matthew Davids on 15 November, 2012, 17:50
This planet was going to be a star but did not grow massive enough to fuse hydrogen into helium. They call these brown dwarfs they are just a big gas giant really.
Comment icon #22 Posted by Mako_Torriblaidd on 15 November, 2012, 17:59
NIIBIIIRRUUU!!! No... just a planet who may have been lost... oh well.
Comment icon #23 Posted by Mag357 on 15 November, 2012, 23:28
Wonder how they determined it's 400C?
Comment icon #24 Posted by C235 on 16 November, 2012, 7:14
Comment icon #25 Posted by Artaxerxes on 16 November, 2012, 15:15
How did they determine it was 400C? They stuck a thermometer in it's butt.
Comment icon #26 Posted by BaneSilvermoon on 17 November, 2012, 20:01
This does seem to fit the requirements of being an extrasolar planet.
Comment icon #27 Posted by kobolds on 19 November, 2012, 4:41
we read alot of planet/star discovery but I wonder when can we see the close up photo of those planet/star.
Comment icon #28 Posted by Dan'O on 20 November, 2012, 7:53
It is Mongo, the home of Ming the Merciless.
Comment icon #29 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 3 December, 2012, 13:08
It's not a brown dwarf, it's too small. It has a mass of "between four and seven times that of Jupiter", brown dwarves have masses of 15 to 75 times that of Jupiter. As for it not being a planet because it isn't in orbit around a star, well the International Astronomical Union definition of a planet is limited to solar system objects only, they have not defined what constitutes a planet outside of our solar system. Until they do "planet" is the best fit deion of the object. We would have to monitor it for an awfully long time, hundreds of millions, if not bi... [More]
Comment icon #30 Posted by Mag357 on 3 December, 2012, 17:11
And I thought they just had a Long Thermometer.

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