Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

How Many Loose Planets in the Milky Way?
Sky & Telescope ^ | February 29, 2012 | Monica Young

Posted on 03/10/2012 11:28:34 AM PST by SunkenCiv

Researchers at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC) at Stanford University estimate that "nomad" planets, ejected from their home stellar system and now free-floating through the Milky Way, could outnumber stars by as many as 100,000 to 1. Earlier estimates were more like a handful to 1, though previous studies have only counted unbound planets more massive than Jupiter.

To estimate the number of unbound planets as small as Pluto that could be roaming the galaxy, Louis Strigari (KIPAC), lead author of the study, began with a basic rule of nature: where a few big objects are found, there are many more small, just like a few boulders may be surrounded by thousands of pebbles. Strigari and colleagues calculated the number of unbound planets by extrapolating from the small number detected so far by direct imaging and by gravitational microlensing.

Direct imaging has severe limits because planets are so faint. Microlensing offers more promise. It looks for the characteristic brightening and fading of a background star when an object, even one as wimpy as Pluto, passes nearly in front of it and bends its light slightly by gravity. So far, 24 planet-mass objects have been detected by microlensing -- 14 bound to their parent stars, 10 apparently not. Microlensing offers hope for detection of loose objects large and small even if they are completely dark, and even at great distances across the galaxy.

(Excerpt) Read more at skyandtelescope.com ...


TOPICS: Astronomy; Science
KEYWORDS: astronomy; catastrophism; rogueplanet; rogueplanets; science; xplanets
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-84 next last
The Milky Way likely hosts billions, and possibly trillions, of unbound planets, some of which may have atmospheres thick enough to support bacterial life. Loose planets may even outnumber stars in the galaxy, but a more precise count awaits future telescopes such as WFIRST and LSST. [Caltech / NASA]

How Many Loose Planets in the Milky Way?

1 posted on 03/10/2012 11:28:41 AM PST by SunkenCiv
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

http://www.amazon.com/When-Worlds-Collide-Richard-Derr/dp/B00005NG6A


2 posted on 03/10/2012 11:32:19 AM PST by njslim (St)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: brytlea; cripplecreek; decimon; bigheadfred; KoRn; Grammy; married21; steelyourfaith; Mmogamer; ...

an ‘extra, extra’ ping to the APoD members.

Sky & Telescope: All 70 Years
March 1, 2011
by the Editors of Sky & Telescope
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/80282957.html


3 posted on 03/10/2012 11:32:40 AM PST by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

"...all 818 monthly issues, covering 70 years of astronomy from November 1941 through December 2009..."

Sky & Telescope: All 70 Years

4 posted on 03/10/2012 11:32:41 AM PST by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]


...for that matter, I picked up a used copy of the April issue, it's great, now I'm considering subscribing.
12 issues for $42.95, digital 12 issues for $10.00

Astronomy

5 posted on 03/10/2012 11:33:14 AM PST by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

How likely is a loose planet to have any atmosphere?

It’s pretty cold in interstellar space...


6 posted on 03/10/2012 11:33:48 AM PST by null and void (Day 1145 of America's ObamaVacation from reality [Heroes aren't made, Frank, they're cornered...])
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: KevinDavis; annie laurie; Knitting A Conundrum; Viking2002; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Mmogamer; ...
 
X-Planets
· join · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post new topic · subscribe ·
Google news searches: exoplanet · exosolar · extrasolar ·

7 posted on 03/10/2012 11:33:58 AM PST by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: 75thOVI; agrace; aimhigh; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aragorn; aristotleman; Avoiding_Sulla; ...

There's actually a posting, or a topic, about "rogue planets", somewhere around here.


8 posted on 03/10/2012 11:33:58 AM PST by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

To us accretionist’s the concept of a loose planet is heresy.

All planets are accreted.

The concept of a Fluke (loose) planet is however interesting


9 posted on 03/10/2012 11:35:51 AM PST by bert (K.E. N.P. +12 ..... Crucifixion is coming)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void

As likely as it is anywhere, but I take your point, if it’s cold enough, the atmosphere would condense and freeze, as on Pluto — depending on what the atmosphere is made of in the first place, and how much of it is there.


10 posted on 03/10/2012 11:36:21 AM PST by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

If you continue to post great articles, my cost is 0

thanks


11 posted on 03/10/2012 11:37:18 AM PST by bert (K.E. N.P. +12 ..... Crucifixion is coming)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv
if it’s cold enough, the atmosphere would condense and freeze, as on Pluto

What if it was a gas giant like Jupiter? What do you think the shrinkage would be?

12 posted on 03/10/2012 11:38:13 AM PST by dragonblustar (Allah Ain't So Akbar!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

Has the vast expanse between Pelosi’s ears been explored?


13 posted on 03/10/2012 11:38:32 AM PST by jessduntno ("Newt Gingrich was part of the Reagan Revolution's Murderers' Row." - Jeffrey Lord, Reagan Admin.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

I wonder if the mass relative to “loose” planets - whose travels do not seem to be (yet) among the calculated mass of the star systems, or the calculted gravitational forces affecting star systems’ travels in their own galaxies - could actually be part of the hypothetical “dark matter” needed to explain current accepted theories of the universe.


14 posted on 03/10/2012 11:42:19 AM PST by Wuli
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void

Frozen solid, I imagine.


15 posted on 03/10/2012 11:42:40 AM PST by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: bert
The concept of a Fluke (loose) planet is however interesting

Based on her background, I would say it was more like a planet of the loose women!

16 posted on 03/10/2012 11:45:00 AM PST by 17th Miss Regt
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: njslim

"the 1933 novel by Edwin Balmer (1883-1959) and Philip Wylie (1902-1971), 'When Worlds Collide' was adapted to film in 1951" -- I've read the book and the sequel (both were howlingly bad) and got the movie out of the library once (also howlingly bad). :')
Thanks njslim.
17 posted on 03/10/2012 11:47:30 AM PST by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: BenLurkin

Well you have to remember that Jupiter and Saturn create their own heat. Most large gas giants probably would.
A rocky planet like Mars or Earth the atmosphere would probably be frozen with nothing except maybe ethane or methane
left.


18 posted on 03/10/2012 11:47:46 AM PST by Mmogamer (I refudiate the lamestream media, leftists and their prevaricutions.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: dragonblustar

It would be measured in Costanzas — with the shrinkage quantification for Jupiter being a 1.


19 posted on 03/10/2012 11:50:08 AM PST by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

These planets could loosely be termed homeless planets.


20 posted on 03/10/2012 11:50:17 AM PST by citizencon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: jessduntno; bert

;’)


21 posted on 03/10/2012 11:50:21 AM PST by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: bert

;’) I’m an accretion denialist.


22 posted on 03/10/2012 11:50:56 AM PST by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv
Moon rocks brought back by Apollo astronauts were used to date the Moon and Earth's age at 4.5 billion years: the Moon being postulatled as a satellite resulting from a massive collision by the Earth/Moon mass, -- "spun from dust and rock around the sun" -- with some other celestial body.

Quotation is from "Darwin's Ghost" by Steve Jones, page 195

23 posted on 03/10/2012 11:52:09 AM PST by OldNavyVet (,)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: bert

“To us accretionist’s the concept of a loose planet is heresy.

All planets are accreted.

The concept of a Fluke (loose) planet is however interesting”
*************************************************************

Yes, the concept of a Fluke planet is interesting. The theoretical danger of such “loose” planets cannot be overestimated. Are these Fluke planets given free contraceptives to keep them from multiplying? Or would that only reward these loose planets?


24 posted on 03/10/2012 11:56:59 AM PST by House Atreides
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: 17th Miss Regt

25 posted on 03/10/2012 11:57:42 AM PST by mikrofon (Loose & otherwise ;)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv
"Thundering Worlds" by Edmund Hamilton
26 posted on 03/10/2012 12:00:23 PM PST by eCSMaster (Conservative patriots, Rise up!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: OldNavyVet

Thanks ONV.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/1234919/posts?page=10#10
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2857296/posts?page=14#14


27 posted on 03/10/2012 12:00:53 PM PST by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Wuli

The ratio of 100,000:1 (rogues to orbiting) would be a tiny fraction of what is needed, but you may have struck on the reason for this hypothesis. :’)


28 posted on 03/10/2012 12:02:28 PM PST by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: House Atreides

Yes, the concept of a Fluke planet is interesting. The theoretical danger of such “loose” planets cannot be overestimated. Are these Fluke planets given free contraceptives to keep them from multiplying? Or would that only reward these loose planets?

Only if someone calls them sluts ...


29 posted on 03/10/2012 12:06:14 PM PST by PIF (They came for me and mine ... now it is your turn ...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

Might be a good idea to get re-started on some spaceships. Just in case.


30 posted on 03/10/2012 12:12:33 PM PST by ngat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

I realized long ago that the issue of dark matter is a hypothesis needed to explain the reigning hypothesis of the begining and structure of the universe, unless some as-yet-unidentified phsysicist (or patent clerk with a penchant for math) is going to “solve” the issue by revising the math that demands the existence of dark matter.


31 posted on 03/10/2012 12:14:13 PM PST by Wuli
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: eCSMaster

Thanks, could make a nice topic as well!


32 posted on 03/10/2012 12:17:35 PM PST by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv; null and void

What is the definition of a planet?

I don’t think an object just out there somewhere qualifies.

So I propose “loose planets” be called Vagi.


33 posted on 03/10/2012 12:17:39 PM PST by bigheadfred (I'm still pissed about Pluto)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

I’d always assumed there would be plenty of nomads. It may even explain retrograde orbits of some planets.


34 posted on 03/10/2012 12:21:41 PM PST by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void


“How likely is a loose planet to have any atmosphere?”

Good point.

Interstellar space is about 3 Kelvin, right?

Radiant energy from a nomad planet’s interior would be quite small.

On Earth, for instance, I think it’s less than 1% of what the sun delivers.


35 posted on 03/10/2012 12:23:32 PM PST by zeestephen
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Wuli
I wonder if the mass relative to “loose” planets - whose travels do not seem to be (yet) among the calculated mass of the star systems, or the calculted gravitational forces affecting star systems’ travels in their own galaxies - could actually be part of the hypothetical “dark matter” needed to explain current accepted theories of the universe.

This was the first thing I thought of too, when I saw these news stories. But thinking about it, by definition these solo planets either formed from clouds of matter that weren't big enough to form stars or they're fairly small breakaway planets. I'd guess they aren't significant in the total mass of matter in the galaxy.
36 posted on 03/10/2012 12:23:39 PM PST by AnotherUnixGeek
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

I doubt the number is that high.

To start with, while there can be a multitude of reasons that a planet went rogue, once they are out of the powerful gravity of a star, most people would assume Newton’s first law would apply, and the rogue would continue in a straight line in whatever its last vector was when it left orbit.

If that was the case, indeed there would be a lot of rogue planets.

However, Newton’s first law would indeed apply, in that, while it was no longer under the control of its star, it would still be under the control of the forces of the galaxy itself.

These forces are formidable in their own right. They have to be to keep the galaxy from flying off in all directions.

This means that in whatever direction the rogue planet was hurled, it would not be in a straight line, but a gradual arc, over time becoming more and more influenced by this continual force.

So the question becomes one of different effects in different directions. That is, is the rogue heading with or opposed to the flow of the galaxy, toward its edge or center, or its “top” or “bottom”, or a vast number of possible vectors between some of these. Also, where in the galaxy it started from.

This gets even more complicated because while, for example, our Sun takes 250 million years to rotate the galaxy, there is also the density wave theory, that the galaxy also has sections of the galactic disk that have a 10-20% greater mass density, which would strongly affect the arc change of a rogue planet when it passed through them.

Eventually, in most cases, the vast majority of rogues would be slung around until they were captured and destroyed, the vast majority in the center of the galaxy. And while it might take a billion years, it would still cull most of them.


37 posted on 03/10/2012 12:26:47 PM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Mmogamer

Earth generates tremendous amounts of heat internally. It is largely composed of a very hot liquid magma beneath a thin crust. Magma (lava) spews forth anywhere the crust is thin enough to permit it.


38 posted on 03/10/2012 12:30:57 PM PST by Kirkwood (Zombie Hunter)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Mmogamer

39 posted on 03/10/2012 12:37:12 PM PST by Kirkwood (Zombie Hunter)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Kirkwood

That is true but in outer space, with no sun to heat it, that wouldn’t be enough to keep the atmosphere from freezing.


40 posted on 03/10/2012 12:37:12 PM PST by Mmogamer (I refudiate the lamestream media, leftists and their prevaricutions.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

I was taught there were only 9 planets and that one found in another solar system would be called something else besides a planet. A planet used to be a large body orbiting around our sun. Who changed the rules?


41 posted on 03/10/2012 12:37:35 PM PST by mountainlion (I am voting for Sarah after getting screwed again by the DC Thugs.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All

Loose women on loose planets? Ask Laz.


42 posted on 03/10/2012 12:39:38 PM PST by BipolarBob (When do the salmon return to Capistrano?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv; null and void

And that’s another thing. 400 billion stars in the galaxy times 100,000 means that commute is going to be a BITCH.

That is a number so big it doesn’t have a name?

10,000 trillion?


43 posted on 03/10/2012 12:40:48 PM PST by bigheadfred (I'm still pissed about Pluto)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: AnotherUnixGeek

I realize the issue itself results from a statistical hypothesis which relies on a hypothesis - as yet unproven by empirical evidence, that presumes a material similarity (on average statisically) in the formation of solar systems.

I am frankly concerned that as much as I think there is room for federal funding of basic science (scientific questions far from deriving a profitable enterprise therefrom) that there is an excess of funding of the purely speculative science that is not only far distant from any pracitcal application or use but just as far distant from any practical, empirical proof (”string theory” for instance).

I think true scientific breakthroughs that have served humanity were at the time actual baby steps built on questions posed by previous steps that had already obtained proof, even though to most people at the time the result seemed like a great leap. But now, in my humble opinion, we have many public and privately funded scientists paid for pursing not “next steps” in science, but great leaps of imagination. Just my humble opinion.


44 posted on 03/10/2012 12:43:32 PM PST by Wuli
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv
"How Many Loose Planets in the Milky Way?"

Word is Venus is one "Slutty Ho'" and is always trying to hook-up with Uranus...

45 posted on 03/10/2012 12:44:47 PM PST by Mad Dawgg (If you're going to deny my 1st Amendment rights then I must proceed to the 2nd one...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: bigheadfred

10 quadrillion.


46 posted on 03/10/2012 12:59:52 PM PST by null and void (Day 1145 of America's ObamaVacation from reality [Heroes aren't made, Frank, they're cornered...])
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

KIPAC? Is that near K-PAX?


47 posted on 03/10/2012 1:08:10 PM PST by alpo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Mmogamer
On a planet larger than Earth the combination of heat from internal nuclear processes such as fission and gravitational pressure could very well be sufficient to keep a planet warm enough to maintain a non-solid atmosphere. After all, stellar objects, from the Sun down to brown dwarfs, manage to maintain an atmosphere even though they're in the cold depths of space without a larger star to keep them heated. And the mass of interstellar bodies is more of a continuum with a not-so-bright-line division between planets and stars (bodies formed by accretion and bodies formed by collapse of interstellar gas). Further, theory discusses so-called "cold gas giants" which can radiate more heat than they receive from their host stars.

It is therefore not outside the realm of possibility for there to be bodies in interstellar space that are not "stars" properly speaking but which do generate sufficient internal heat to maintain a gaseous atmosphere.
48 posted on 03/10/2012 1:23:57 PM PST by Oceander (TINSTAAFL - Mother Nature Abhors a Free Lunch almost as much as She Abhors a Vacuum)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: AnotherUnixGeek; Wuli

I also wondered of the “loose planets” where another means of accounting for dark matter, and that’s why they came up with the 100,000:1 ratio.

I’ve never been comfortable with the theory of “Dark Matter.” I have a nagging suspicion that it’s a hypothesis created to patch a hole in a flawed underlying theory.

But, I’m not an astrophysicist, so I can nurse my ignorant prejudices all I want.


49 posted on 03/10/2012 1:29:02 PM PST by henkster (Andrew Breitbart would not have apologized.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: bert
To us accretionist’s the concept of a loose planet is heresy.

Why hasn't the asteroid belt accreted into a planet yet? I've been puzzling over that since I was a kid.

Not having studied it (at all), my working theory is that it once was a planet that was busted up by impact. The accretion process should be ongoing now.

50 posted on 03/10/2012 1:39:28 PM PST by Windflier (To anger a conservative, tell him a lie. To anger a liberal, tell him the truth.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-84 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson