Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Nearby Rogue Planet

Astronomers have discovered what is likely a rogue planet-- a planet zipping through space independently, unconnected to any star-- just 100 light years away.  The object, at four to seven times the mass of Jupiter, may also be a brown dwarf, a body not quite big enough to become a star, but current odds are that it's a planet ejected from a solar system.

Astronomers think such rogue worlds are common throughout the galaxy, and they are delighted to have found one so close by.  Since they won't have to deal with the overpowering glare of a host star, they look forward to learning a lot about this object fairly quickly, and using that knowledge to extrapolate about others of its kind.

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