Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Astronomers Believed to Have Found First Rogue planet

Posted by YouTube user: VideoFromSpace

In case you're completely unfamiliar:

Rouge (nomadic/orphan/ETC) planets are, well, exactly what they sound like- planetary bodies which are not gravitationally bound to a parent star or system; instead revolving around galaxies themselves. These objects are believed to occur as a result of their having either been ejected from a parent system, or developing as a type of sub brown dwarf (objects that never quite attained enough mass to achieve fusion and become a star) that was never actually bound to any other object in the first place. Last week, a team of astrophysicists from the University of Montreal, reported the discovery of what they believe to be the first direct observation of such a planet.

The object in question; Planet "CFBDSIR2149" - which isn't even the entire designation for the object BTW- was found amongst a group of  relatively young stars (around 50-120 million years old) which make up a formation called the AB Doradus Moving group. The apparent planet's "close" proximity to our own, around 75 light years from Earth, and the fact that there isn't a nearby parent star obstructing our view with it's own intense glow, means researchers have actually been able to do a detailed analysis of the object's atmosphere.

Actual image of newly found rogue planet CFBDSIR2149.
Image Credit: CFHT/P. Delorme
Using infrared imaging collected from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT.), researchers have determined  CFBDSIR2149 to be a gas giant with a mass 4 to 7 times that of Jupiter, and an average temperature of around 450 degrees Celsius (850 degrees Fahrenheit).

This isn't actually the first potential rogue planet ever to have been discovered. And there is always a chance that further observation could contradict these initial findings, given that this is the closest and least obstructed candidate yet known. But it seems likely at this stage that CFBDSIR2149, will end up as our first confirmed observation of an unbound planetary mass. 

Oh, and in case you were wondering. Yes, people have already started asking the "Nibiru" question. Is Ancient Astronauts still a thing? And are they currently filming? If so, $20 says they're the first to work this angle into their...um, "theories".


SOURCE: UdeMNouvelles, SLATE/BadAstronomy

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