Skip to comments.Lonely planet: Orphan world spotted in deep space
Posted on 11/20/2012 6:33:42 AM PST by Red Badger
Astronomers on Wednesday reported they had detected a planet that had strayed from its star system and was wandering alone in deep space.
Object CFBDSIR2149 is believed to be a cold, young world that for unknown reasons has pulled free of the gravitational pull of its mother star, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) said.
It is not the first time that a "free-floating" planet has been found, but this one is the closest that has ever been spotted, at over 100 light years from Earth.
Initial observations sketched the object as either a homeless planet or a tiny failed star called a brown dwarf, which lacks the bulk to trigger the nuclear fusion that makes stars shine.
But the probabilities narrowed when the astronomers noted it was roaming near a stream of young, restless stars called the AB Doradus Moving Group.
"This group is unique, in that it is made up of around 30 stars that all have the same age, have the same composition and that move together through space," said astrophysicist Lison Malo at the University of Montreal.
"It's the link between the planet and AB Doradus that enabled us to deduce its age and classify it as a planet."
The astronomers used an infrared camera at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope and ESO's 8.2-metre (28.7-feet) Very Large Telescope in Chile, ranked the sixth biggest optical telescope in the world, to get a closer look.
CFBDSIR2149, they estimate, is between 50 and 120 million years old, with a temperature of around 400 degrees Celsius (750 degrees Fahrenheit) and a mass of four to seven times that of Jupiter, the biggest planet of our solar system.
"These objects are important, as they can either help us understand more about how planets may be ejected from planetary systems, or how very light objects can arise from the star formation process," said Philippe Delorme of France's Institute of Planetology and Astrophysics.
"If this little object is a planet that has been ejected from its native system, it conjures up the striking image of orphaned worlds, drifting in the emptiness of space."
Maybe Obama could be the President of this planet.....
Yes, it’s full of alien voters.......
I would like to have had a little more time.
can we postpone or cancel the engagement?
Where is all that heat coming from? A dead planet floating in space would have a temperature close to absolute zero.
There’s residual heat from the gravitational compression during the initial formation of the planet (especially high in this case because the planet is so young) - and also heat generated by radioactive elements.
Both help power Earth’s volcanoes.
The Earth has two sources of internal heat. One is the heat of accretion, which is heat converted from gravitational energy as the materials which formed the Earth fell together under gravity in the early Solar System. This heat is now estimated to make up about 20% of the total heat flow from the Earths interior. That fact is an indication of how long it has taken the Earth to vent this heat to space.
The other source of heat is the decay of radioactive isotopes of uranium, thorium and potassium, incorporated into the Earth at its accretion. This radiogenic heat is the principal explanation of why the Earths interior is still so hot after billions of years. Without radiogenic heat the Earth would by now have cooled down to the point where the core would probably be solid.
A final factor to consider is the Earths size. The Earth is the largest of the rocky planets in the Solar System, and the thickness of the mantle acts as a blanket. Heat is conveyed to the surface by conduction and by convection, the process that drives plate tectonics. The rate of heat loss governed by the Earths size and composition, balanced against the production of heat by radiogenic decay in the mantle and core and the remaining heat of accretion, explains why the Earths outer core is still molten.
What is its path?
It’s Mondas the original homeworld of the Cybermen.
So why is it “believed to be a cold, young world”?
The vacuum of space is a cold place, absolute zero. No molecular activity.
from the same article: “CFBDSIR2149, they estimate, is between 50 and 120 million years old, with a temperature of around 400 degrees Celsius (750 degrees Fahrenheit)”
A floating planet should be a cold frozen solid mass. the fact that it is 750 F is amazing.
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