There may be billions of ‘rogue’ drifting planets, not bound to any stars

New research suggests that there may be billions of planets just drifting in our galaxy (Milky Way), not bound to any stars. Unlike planets in a solar system, these ‘rogue’ planets are free-floating and are not in any fixed orbit around a star.

Because these rogue planets are not bound to any star, there is scarce light present to reflect off and illuminate these celestial bodies. astronomer Scott Gaudi from Ohio State University says that “the universe could be teeming with rogue planets and we wouldn’t even know it.”

- Advertisement -

Read Also: A new study suggests early Mars was covered in ice sheets

However, NASA believes that it can count these hiding planets. A new NASA mission called the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope aims to do just that, with an expected launch sometime in the coming years. The $4 billion telescope has a new optical system that is expected to provide a field of view 100 times greater than the Hubble Space Telescope.

The Roman Telescope will hopefully bring a new generation of space surveying with its advanced optical technology. A study conducted by a team at Ohio State University predicts that the Roman Telescope will be able to detect these free-floating planetary-mass objects (FFPs) with 10 times greater capability than existing space surveying technology.

“This gives us a window into these worlds that we would otherwise not have,” says, Samson Johnson, a graduate student at OSU and also lead study author. “There have been several rogue planets discovered, but to actually get a complete picture, our best bet is something like Roman. This is a totally new frontier.”

- Advertisement -

The high-accuracy observation of these FFPs is possible due to a technique called gravitational microlensing. As there is very little light around these planets, this technique observes light that is magnified due to the warping of light from a distant star via gravitational forces (such as planets). Though gravitational microlensing is a decades old technique, the Roman Telescope is expected to take that capability multiple times further.

“The microlensing signal from a rogue planet only lasts between a few hours and a couple of days and then is gone forever,” says astrophysicist Matthew Penny from Louisiana State University. “This makes them difficult to observe from Earth, even with multiple telescopes. Roman is a game-changer for rogue planet searches.”

The Roman Telescope is targeted for a 2025 launch.

Do you want to publish on Apple News, Google News, and more? Join our writing community, improve your writing skills, and be read by hundreds of thousands around the world!

More from Space – News Landed

- Advertisement -

+ Eyes on the Solar System – Provides a real-time view of Perseverance rover
+ NASA: Ceres, a dwarf planet like Pluto, is an ocean world

Popular Stories – News Landed

+ Judge orders Apple not to block Unreal Engine, but Fortnite is still blocked from the App Store
+ The possibility of a “twindemic” may be on its way, experts say

Related Stories

Hubble’s new photo of the Cygnus loop reminds of Nexus from Star Trek

For Star Trek fans like me, the above image reminds of "Nexus" from Star Trek: Generations - an extra-dimensional...

NASA completes Roman Space Telescope’s ground system

The telescope is expected to launch in the mid-2020s, which would eventually create panoramic pictures of space with unrevealed...

Featured Stories

Biden, Harris inaugurated as President and Vice President of the United States of America

On January 20, 2021, on the steps of the United States Capitol, history was made. Shortly before Noon EST,...

Joe Biden’s US$1.9 trillion plan – What does it mean to the world?

On Thursday (January 14), incoming President Joe Biden revealed his administration's US$1.9 trillion stimulus package that aims to combat...

Our Forests Will Reach Their Climate Tipping Point Decades Before the End of This Century

Recent observational data studies confirm that we are much closer to the temperature tipping point for forest and terrestrial...

Curfews sweep Europe to tackle rising COVID-19 cases

Nine months from the initial lockdowns, Europe grapples with record coronavirus cases. It comes as dozens of more contagious...

Endangered Indian rhinoceros calf born in Poland zoo

An endangered Indian Rhinoceros calf was born last week at Poland's Wroclaw Zoo. The female calf is said to...

Cancer cells hibernate like a bear to tackle chemotherapy

Hibernation is a process where animals go to sleep during an adverse environment. Precisely when animals don't get food,...

Comment Below

Hubble’s new photo of the Cygnus loop reminds of Nexus from Star Trek

For Star Trek fans like me, the above image reminds of "Nexus" from Star Trek: Generations - an extra-dimensional...

NASA completes Roman Space Telescope’s ground system

The telescope is expected to launch in the mid-2020s, which would eventually create panoramic pictures of space with unrevealed...