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 ")

Is There Life In Outer Space? Will We Recognize It?
'The antennae of the Life Detector atop the OP swept back and forth...' - Frank Herbert, 1958.

Space Traumapod For Surgery In Spacecraft
' It was a ... coffin, form-fitted to Nessus himself...' - Larry Niven, 1972.

A Space Ship On My Back
''Darn clever, these suits,' he murmured.' - Jack Williamson, 1933.

Elon Musk Tweets Versions Of Clarke's Operation Cleanup
'Fortunately, the old orbital forts were superbly equipped for this task.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1978.

 

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

Ontario Starts Guaranteed Minimum Income
'Earned by just being born.'

Is There Life In Outer Space? Will We Recognize It?
'The antennae of the Life Detector atop the OP swept back and forth...'

Space Traumapod For Surgery In Spacecraft
' It was a ... coffin, form-fitted to Nessus himself...'

Tesla Augmented Reality Hypercard
'The hypercard is an avatar of sorts.'

A Space Ship On My Back
''Darn clever, these suits,' he murmured.'

Biomind AI Doctor Mops Floor With Human Doctors
'My aim was just not to lose by too much.' - Human Physician participant.

Fuli Bad Dog Robot Is 'Auspicious Raccoon Dog' Bot
Bad dog, Fuli. Bad dog.

Las Vegas Humans Ready To Strike Over Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot... had to be compensated.'

You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.'

Elon Musk Seeks To Create 1941 Heinlein Speedster
'The car surged and lifted, clearing its top by a negligible margin.'

Somnox Sleep Robot - Your Sleepytime Cuddlebot
Science fiction authors are serious about sleep, too.

Real-Life Macau or Ghost In The Shell
Art imitates life imitates art.

Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.'

First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.

VirtualHome: Teaching Robots To Do Chores Around The House
'Just what did I want Flexible Frank to do? - any work a human being does around a house.'

Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) Workshop
SF writers have thought about this since the 19th century.

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.