Rogue planets are stray planets without any host star. Due to an external force, the planets are driven away from their system and roam around in space, destined to be alone and cold.
Astronomers recently discovered an interesting little fellow, roaming around all alone in space.
According to Scott Gaudi, a professor of astronomy at Ohio State University, “The universe could be teeming with rogue planets and we wouldn’t even know it.”
Gaudi and his colleagues found that the rogue planet was no more in size than Earth or Mars.
These lone planets are extremely hard to locate due to being completely alone and non-luminous. Their presence often goes unnoticed due to no light bouncing off of them.
Wandering around in space, these planets tend to become extremely cool and will go completely unnoticed by infrared telescopes.
To detect the planet, Gaudi and his team employed ‘microlensing’. By observing the effect of mass on space-time, they can detect exactly where an object is located.
The light from a distant star will often get bent due to a massive object in its path. This curvature helps astronomers to detect planets that might otherwise go undetected.
Thanks to NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, the discovery of the rogue planets was made possible.
Detecting such objects with the help of normal telescopes is nearly impossible. The Roman was specifically built to search for Rogue planets in the deep space.
Gaudi clarified, “We would never find out without undertaking a thorough, space-based microlensing survey like Roman is going to do.”
Space is curious, and unraveling the mystery of this infinite expansion might take an eternity. There are secrets that lie beyond our access due to technological limitations. With time hopefully, we’ll learn more of what the universe has to offer, and we’ll definitely be surprised every single time.