A Rogue Planet - Right In Our Neighborhood

CFBDSIR2149 is probably a rogue planet, and the closest one ever found. Also called interstellar planets, such bodies are planet-sized and not tied to any star system.


(A Rogue Planet - Right In Our Neighborhood)

It was discovered by astronomers surveying a small clot of stars located just about 75 light years from Earth. This cluster, called AB Doradus, is a group of about 30 stars that probably formed together and are still moving through space together, like a swarm of bugs. Using various measurements of the stars themselves, astronomers have determined the stars are young: less than 200 million years old for sure, and possibly only a tenth that age.

The astronomers probed the cluster using a telescope sensitive to infrared light. They were specifically looking for objects of low mass, which, at the clusterís age, tend to glow brightly at those wavelengths, still warm from their recent formation. What they found was CFBDSIR2149.

If it is indeed a member of the cluster, then itís almost certainly a planet-like object. It would have a mass about four to seven times that of Jupiter: Earth-like, it ainít. Itís big, but well below the mass a star would have, and still fairly safely in the range of what we call a planet. It has a temperature of about 450 degrees Celsius (850 degrees Fahrenheit), which is pretty warm by human standards, but even the smallest, coolest stars are hotter. Again, it looks more like a planet than a star.

But the most interesting bit is that thereís no star nearby! That is, it doesnít appear to be orbiting a star; itís sitting out there in the cluster, but pretty much on its own.


(When Worlds Collide cover)

The term rogue planet comes from Poul Anderson's 1967 novel Satan's World. But you'll find an earlier example in the 1932 story When World's Collide by Edwin Balmer and P. Wylie:

Bronson's calculations revealed to him that these wandering spheres would pass very close to the earth, make a circuit of our sun, and turn back toward space and infinity. The larger of the two wandering worlds would strike and annihilate the earth...

From CFBDSIR2149-0403: a 4-7 Jupiter-mass free-floating planet in the young moving group AB Doradus? via Slate. Thanks to Winchell Chung for the tip on this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/16/2012)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 9 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

LightSail Solar Sail Deploys
'This was the first time any solar yacht had ever attained it...'- Arthur C. Clarke, 1964.

Suit Up! Fifty Years Of Spacewalks Video
'I experienced for a few minutes the delicious, indescribable pleasure of being a little planet...'- Garrett P. Serviss, 1898.

Microbes To Terraform Mars?
'Terraform the little rock...'- Jack Williamson, 1941.

Tyson Says Asteroid Miners Will Be First Trillionaires
'...Come together here under the influence of their mutual gravitation, and formed a little metallic planet.'- Garrett P. Serviss, 1898.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Storing 1 Zettabyte In 10 Grams
'It is theoretically possible to have a matrix in which each individual molecule has a meaning...'

Laser-Powered Spacecraft To Explore The Solar System
'Whoever launched it fired a laser cannon... for about forty-five years, so the intruder would have a beam to travel on...'

Skin Chair For That 'Sitting On A Fat Guy' Feeling
'The semi-sentient artifact glided to a position behind McKie...'

Pneumatic Micro-Tentacles Kidnapping Ants
'Long, flexible, glittering tentacles...'

Bee Narcs To Perform Drug 'Stings'
'Time for a replacement of both Behren and his dipterous insect...'

3D Printed Spherical Flying Machine
'Gold dots against blue, basketball-sized, twelve feet up....'

Airbus E-Fan All-Electric Plane Now Ready
I couldn't believe it, either.

Robot Swarms Improve Culture By Forgetting
'My mind was filled to the splitting point...'

Melomics Avant Garde Computer Musician
'Rollo sat at the keyboard, prim, inhuman, rigid, twin lenses focused somewhere off into the shadows...'

Samsung's Transparent Display Finally As Big As HG Wells'
Wells also figured out that 16x9 is the shape to have.

Nanotech Used To Create Custom Water Filters In Tanzania
'People started out squeamish about Clearsacs...'

This Robot Swordmaster: Yaskawa Bushido Project
'The instrument of prisms and target could not think, feel caution or remorse. And it carried a real blade.'

Thync Mood-Changing Wearable Device
'Very gently, hypnotically, the electronic pulses throbbed in the frontal lobes of his brain.'

What Science Fiction Inspires Russia's New Robot?
Russian science fiction fans had their own inspirations.

LightSail Solar Sail Deploys
'This was the first time any solar yacht had ever attained it...'

Living Concrete Repairs Itself
Science fiction fans were given this idea in 1951.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.