Researchers find a earth-sized 'rogue' planet cruising through the Milky Way

Researchers find a earth-sized 'rogue' planet cruising through the Milky Way

On the other hand, one thing to wonder was whether there was a planet such as Earth that is far enough away from a star like Earth to have life on it. Scientific American reports that the scientists still need to do more research to confirm the "rogue" status of the planet. Now using a telescope at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, the astronomers look to the galaxy's center on clear nights, in search of changes in the brightness of stars. But the one for this new planet only lasted 42 minutes - the shortest event confirmed yet.

The result was an effect that is much like a giant magnifying glass, brightening light from a background "source" star to reveal the presence of the massive object.

University of Warsaw scientists may have detected a terrestrial-mass rogue planet. In this instance, astronomers utilized data collected by the OGLE survey, featuring a Chilean telescope and led by a team of astronomers at Warsaw University in Poland.

A tricky, Earth-sized planet is crawling through our universe.

In any case, rogue planets can be spotted utilizing an astronomical phenomenon called gravitational microlensing. The discovery, detailed Thursday in Astrophysical Journal Letters, suggests the Milky Way may be teeming with rogue planets.

To date, more than four thousand planets have been discovered outside of our solar system, the vast majority of which orbit a particular star.

The researchers spotted the star due to a phenomenon known as "microlensing", where a massive object (like a planet) bends the light from a star behind it, due to Einstein's theory of general relativity. Microlensing events attributed to free-floating planets have timescales of barely a few hours.

The find comes courtesy of researchers using a technique called "gravitational microlensing", which involves observing foregrounded objects - such as the planet - passing in front of distant stars.

Potential alien planets are likely to have a mass similar to Mars, the researchers say arXiv.org repository.

"The observer measures the short brightness of the source star", said Dr. Presmac Miros, a leading author and postgraduate scholar at the California Institute of Technology.

Gravitational microlensing is only possible when an astronomer's telescope lies in nearly flawless alignment with the observed object and the source star.

The researchers said the newly detected planet is the smallest rogue world ever found, with models indicating it may have a mass somewhere between Earth and Mars.

To increase the odds of a detection, the team pointed their telescope to the star-dense galactic bulge of the Milky Way, which resulted in the detection of the microlensing event, named OGLE-2016-BLG-1928.

It's possible that this exoplanet actually does orbit a star, but the scientists couldn't find it. NASA, which is also working on a telescope that will be able to observe free-floating planets, has said that rogue planets can help us learn about how planets are formed. One of the first goals of the OGLE survey was searching for and studying dark matter using the gravitational microlensing technique.

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