“Our discovery demonstrates that low-mass free-floating planets could be detected and characterised utilizing ground-based telescopes,” introduced the examine’s co-author Andrzej Udalski, principal investigator of the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) undertaking led by the College of Warsaw in Poland.
— SPACE.com (@SPACEdotcom) October 29, 2020
Whereas astronomers have found 4,000 exoplanets up to now — and that there may be far more rogue planets out there than there are planets with host stars — detecting a rogue planet is harder than it appears as a result of there isn’t any gentle from a number star for scientists to make use of to assist spot the planet.
The OGLE undertaking, using the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, noticed the rogue planet utilizing a method referred to as gravitational microlensing.
As Area.com explains, this planet-hunting methodology, “entails watching foreground objects go in entrance of distant background stars. When this occurs, the nearer physique can act as a gravitational lens, bending and magnifying the star’s gentle in methods that may reveal the foreground object’s mass and different traits.”
The examine’s lead writer, Przemek Mroz on the California Institute of Know-how, defined simply how “extraordinarily slim” the possibilities of such a microlensing occasion are as a result of it requires excellent alignment of the sunshine supply, the telescope lens, and the observer. “If we noticed just one supply star, we must wait virtually one million years to see the supply being microlensed,” Mroz mentioned.
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For extra science information, learn up on the proof of a parallel universe where time runs backward, a cosmic cloud that has some individuals claiming “Galactus is coming!“, NASA’s discovery of water on the moon, a black widow star that is a supply of gamma radiation, the horrifying 50-50 chance that we really are living in a simulation, and watch footage of the Osiris-Rex probe touching down on an asteroid.