Astronomers from Warsaw University in Poland have found two mysterious rouge planets in our galaxy which don’t orbit around a star. Unlike almost all known planets, New Scientist reports, these two planets don’t orbit a star.
For centuries, rogue planets are extremely difficult to find as they are almost always in the dark.Because they’re not close to a star that illuminates them, they’re colossally hard to spot.
A technique known as gravitational microlensing used to find out these rogue planets.
Polish astronomer used the technique to find points where the light of faraway stars was warped and distorted by the gravitational pull of a planet that had drifted in that light’s path.
It’s not the accurate system. A fewastronomers (such as: Neil DeGrasse Tyson) acquire there are billions of rogue planets in the whole Milky Way. But while humanity has proven great at finding exoplanets attached to stars, scientists have only identified a dozen or so rogues. That’s what makes adding two more to the pile such a big deal.
The two discovered rogue planets are called OGLE-2017-BLG-0560 and OGLE-2012-BLG-1323, named after the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) survey that discovered them. The first planet detected, OGLE-2017-BLG-0560, was detected in April 2017 and could be between one and twenty times the mass of Jupiter. Finding evidence of this planet inspired the scientists to look back through their older research data for similar evidence, which is how they discovered the smaller OGLE-2012-BLG-1323, somewhere between Neptune and Earth in size, which was first captured in August 2012.
The results were published in the preprint journal archive arXiv.
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