An international team of astronomers has exposed a new type of planets that emerge to float alone in space. It is dark ten bodies from the mass of Jupiter, which are far from any star. Scientists believe these huge objects without company may have been ejected from their planetary systems. The research appears in the journal Nature.
The detection comes from an analysis of observations of a central zone of the Milky Way made in 2006 and 2007 by a team of researchers from Japan and New Zealand. The analysis provided evidence of the existence of ten planets that appear to float freely. According to scientists, the finding not only confirms that planets "lonely" there, but also indicates which are quite common. Such objects are very difficult to detect, so if astronomers have managed to put ten in the spotlight, it is likely that there are almost twice as stars. Such a number suggests that it is likely that in the universe are as common as planets like Earth that orbit stars.
Hot to support life
"The study is not sensitive to planets less massive than Jupiter and Saturn, but smaller mass planets like Earth may be expelled from their stars more often than Jupiter lonely, "says David Bennett, University of Notre Dame one of the authors. Some scientists even believe that the planets of Earth mass free-floating may be sufficiently hot to support life, due to the greenhouse effect caused by the large amount of hydrogen in the atmosphere. NASA, a mission tries to loosen this mystery in the Milky Way.
But, what has happened to the planets 'solitary' to end this way? Bennett believes that its origin may be the expulsion of their systems. "Our results suggest that planetary systems often become unstable, with planets that are expelled from their places of birth by close encounters with other planets."