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 |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 9 )
Related News Stories -
Man-Made Space Leaf Creates Oxygen From Water And Light
'What better purifying machine is there than... grass?'- George O. Smith, 1942.
Revisiting A Cloud City On Venus
I've been looking forward to something like this since 1980.
'Windowless Cockpit' Like Star Trek's Patent Applied For
Wait - you thought Sulu had a window?
NASA's Warp Speed Starship Design
'As Earth's faster-than-light spaceship hung in the void between galaxies...'- John W. Campbell
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.
I'll be back next week...
Origami Robot Finally Self-Assembles, Walks On Its Own
Now shipping flat, but better than Ikea, because self-assembling.
A.L.O. Robot Butler Serves You At Aloft Hotel
'Her idea of what a butler-valet combo should look like...'
Mometum Machines Burgerbot
'One of these gorgeous eating places where we were served entirely by mechanical apparatus...'
Google Lobbies For Autonomous Motorcycles
'He had never ridden any motorized device that lacked onboard steering and balance systems.'
No Cages In Future Zoos Is Zootopia?
'The park... twisted through specimens from every inhabited planet of the known universe.'
Navdy HeadUp Display (HUD) For Your Car
'All displays are thrown on a mirror in front of you...'
Computer 'Aesop' Writes Fables With A Moral
'I handed Tony the master tape and he played it into the IBM'
Artificial Wombs - Ectogenesis Technology - Is On The Way
'Magnificent, aren't they? (Lama Su, in Star Wars II)
Robotic Exoskeleton For Shipyard Workers
'Earth's scientists solved the problem... devising rigid metallic clothing not unlike armor...'
Timeful Appointment App Learns, Optimizes Your Routines
'The [Daily Schedule program] suited its tone to his movements and the combined analysis of his psychophysical condition.'
3D Printing Your Science-Fictional Metals
I love science-fictional materials!
Bespoke Clothing In 30 Minutes
'He sat himself down in a sales cubicle and dialed the code number for kilts.'
Low Cost Spray-On Solar Cells
'It turns sunlight into electricity... you spray it on.'
Survival Seed Vault Low Cost Life Bank
'They existed in the Life Bank, as did virtually every plant...'
PoseiDrone Tentacled Undersea Robot Like HG Wells'
'Its motion was so swift, complex, and perfect that at first I did not see it as a machine...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories