Rogue Planet Without a Home Star May Roam Nearby Heavens
Astronomers have discovered what they believe to be a rogue planet floating through space without a star. The super-Jupiter, called CFBDSIR2149, has a mass four to seven times that of our own gas giant, and is probably a scorching 800 or so degrees Fahrenheit. It appears to sit in a moving group of stars that, at a rough distance of 65 light-years, is just a cosmic stone’s throw away from us.
Researchers aren’t quite sure how such an untethered planet comes to be: It may be that they form the standard way, from the ring of coalescing dust around a young star, and is later somehow kicked out of the system. Such objects are a potential boon to astronomers looking to study planets throughout the galaxy. Stars shine so brightly that they blind observers to the dim planets around them. Without interference from a nearby star, scientists may be able to glean more about the object’s characteristics and even its composition, and learn a little more about where our solar system’s inhabitants fit into the larger planetary pantheon, said Christian Veillet, former executive director at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope.