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Recently, planets outside our galaxy have been discovered.
How would be the convention to naming these planets? As far as I know, it seems that there is no standard for naming exoplanets even in our galaxy.
But if I'm publishing a scientific paper and I wish to name some of these recently discovered planets, what would be some guildelines on doing so?
The original paper ( and a version on arXiv ) which this relates to does not seem to identify any actual planets. It's clear from the abstract that it is simply suggesting there is evidence that what they describe as unbound planets seem to exist as an inference of the spectral data they have gathered.
They are not identifying any individual planets at all. They have not actually discovered any planets and there is nothing to name.
This is the abstract :
Previously, planets have been detected only in the Milky Way galaxy. Here, we show that quasar microlensing provides a means to probe extragalactic planets in the lens galaxy, by studying the microlensing properties of emission close to the event horizon of the supermassive black hole of the background quasar, using the current generation telescopes. We show that a population of unbound planets between stars with masses ranging from Moon to Jupiter masses is needed to explain the frequent Fe Kα line energy shifts observed in the gravitationally lensed quasar RXJ 1131-1231 at a lens redshift of z = 0.295 or 3.8 billion lt-yr away. We constrain the planet mass-fraction to be larger than 0.0001 of the halo mass, which is equivalent to 2000 objects ranging from Moon to Jupiter mass per main-sequence star.
What they're saying is that, if you accept the hypothesis of their theory and data, there must exist a minimum of about 2000 objects of planet mass per star. There's no way to identify any individual object and no means to verify their claims that I know of.
It's a little bit like naming people off the shadows they cast walking past a light-source. It's hard to tell which shadow belongs to what person. A guy who walks by twice might get two names, two people who walk by at the same time might get one name between them. The lack of specific identification is the difference between direct observation and a survey. It's not even all that easy to tell if a person is tall or just closer to the light source - though some rough estimates can be made, specifics are difficult.
We don't even name the planets in our own galaxy that are observed in microlensing events. We could name the events, I suppose (and maybe they do). But there's no way to identify and track individual planets from microlensing events.
Meet 8 'Star Wars' Planets in Our Own Galaxy
The fantasy creations of the "Star Wars" universe are strikingly similar to real planets in our own Milky Way galaxy. A super Earth in deep freeze? Think ice-planet Hoth. And that distant world with double sunsets can&rsquot help but summon thoughts of sandy Tatooine.
No indications of life have yet been detected on any of the more than 4,000 scientifically confirmed exoplanets, so we don&rsquot know if any of them are inhabited by Wookiees or mynocks, or play host to exotic alien bar scenes (or even bacteria, for that matter).
Still, a quick spin around the real exoplanet universe offers tantalizing similarities to several Star Wars counterparts:
Astronomy – A Guide to Universe
Astronomy – Have you ever looked up at the sky at night to observe the moon and stars or ever saw photos of planets, galaxies, nebulae in movies, or on the internet and wondered what they are? Let’s explore one of the oldest natural science – Astronomy together!
The scientific study of the celestial objects, space, and the physical universe as a whole is known as Astronomy. For example, stars, planets, nebulae, asteroids, galaxies, black holes, and other celestial bodies. Nowadays, professional astronomy is often considered to be identical to astrophysics.
Astronomy - A Guide To Universe | garudauniverse.com
Astronomers are looking for new planets, trying to map the entire sky, or trying to understand the structure of the universe. Some astronomers focus their research on space junk that could disrupt Earth’s satellites, while others study distant stars, galaxies, and black holes. Some astronomers study the stars, planets, and asteroids in our solar system, such as the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, or Sun, and some monitor our galaxy Milky Way and other galaxies, as well as other objects outside our galaxy, such as the neutron star. Astronomers are studying space debris that could disrupt satellite operations or damage satellites.
While astronomy is based on the exploration of space in general, astrophysics tries to explain the processes that make the universe what it is. The more we know, the more people study and study the known objects in detail, and this gives us a better understanding of the nature of our universe and its origins.
Illustration of Milky Way Galaxy | garudauniverse.com
Professional and amateur astronomers observe our universe and develop theories and applications that help us understand our planets, stars, galaxies, etc. This allows us to collect information about the formation and evolution of stars and galaxies and their evolution into planets and stars.
The main work is done in laboratories and observatories, but professional scientists involved in this study use spacecraft and satellites to further study the universe.
There are two main fields of astronomy:
Observational Astronomy uses telescopes and cameras to observe stars, galaxies, and other astronomical objects, while theoretical astronomy uses mathematical and computer models to explain observations and predictions.
Theoretical Astronomy, however, is supposed to be the study of computer analytical models used to study several phenomena involving celestial objects, such as the formation of stars, galaxies, planets, and the evolution of galaxies and stars.
Illustration of Solar System | garudauniverse.com
Astronomy can further be classified into sub-fields according to the objects that astronomers study :-
In this sub-field researchers study planets(within and outside our solar system) and objects like asteroids and comets as well as. The scientists who are interested in studying it are called Planetary Scientists.
In this sub-field, researchers analyze and study the Sun. Scientists try to understand how these changes affect the Earth. The scientists who are interested in studying it are called Solar Physicists. Space-based and ground-based instruments are used to study our star.
The researchers study the creation, evolution, and deaths of stars.
The researchers study our Milky Way Galaxy. Astronomers study the motion and evolution of the Milky Way in order to learn how galaxies are formed.
Researchers study other galaxies in the universe outside the Milky Way to establish a pattern to determine how galaxies are formed and evolved over time.
The study of the universe in order to understand its origin, evolution, and structure. Cosmologists try to understand the birth and origin of the universe from the Big Bang to the present.
What Astronomers Can Learn From Hot Jupiters, the Scorching Giant Planets of the Galaxy
In 1995, after years of effort, astronomers made an announcement: They’d found the first planet circling a sun-like star outside our solar system. But that planet, 51 Pegasi b, was in a quite unexpected place — it appeared to be just around 4.8 million miles away from its home star and able to dash around the star in just over four Earth-days. Our innermost planet, Mercury, by comparison, is 28.6 million miles away from the sun at its closest approach and orbits it every 88 days.
What’s more, 51 Pegasi b was big — half the mass of Jupiter, which, like its fellow gas giant Saturn, orbits far out in our solar system. For their efforts in discovering the planet, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz were awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize for Physics alongside James Peebles, a cosmologist. The Nobel committee cited their “contributions to our understanding of the evolution of the universe and Earth’s place in the cosmos.”
The phrase “hot Jupiter” came into parlance to describe planets like 51 Pegasi b as more and more were discovered in the 1990s. Now, more than two decades later, we know a total of 4,000-plus exoplanets, with many more to come, from a trove of planet-seeking telescopes in space and on the ground: the now-defunct Kepler and current ones such as TESS, Gaia, WASP, KELT and more. Only a few more than 400 meet the rough definition of a hot Jupiter — a planet with a 10-day-or-less orbit and a mass 25 percent or greater than that of our own Jupiter. While these close-in, hefty worlds represent about 10 percent of the exoplanets thus far detected, it’s thought they account for just 1 percent of all planets.
Still, hot Jupiters stand to tell us a lot about how planetary systems form — and what kinds of conditions cause extreme outcomes. In a 2018 paper in the Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, astronomers Rebekah Dawson of the Pennsylvania State University and John Asher Johnson of Harvard University took a look at hot Jupiters and how they might have formed — and what that means for the rest of the planets in the galaxy. Knowable Magazine spoke with Dawson about the past, present and future of planet-hunting, and why these enigmatic hot Jupiters remain important. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Astronomer Rebekah Dawson, Pennsylvania State University. (James Provost (CC BY-ND))
What is a hot Jupiter?
A hot Jupiter is a planet that’s around the mass and size of Jupiter. But instead of being far away from the sun like our own Jupiter, it’s very close to its star. The exact definitions vary, but for the purpose of the Annual Review article we say it’s a Jupiter within about 0.1 astronomical units of its star. An astronomical unit is the distance between Earth and the sun, so it’s about 10 times closer to its star — or less — than Earth is to the sun.
What does being so close to their star do to these planets?
That’s an interesting and debated question. A lot of these hot Jupiters are much larger than our own Jupiter, which is often attributed to radiation from the star heating and expanding their gas layers.
It can have some effects on what we see in the atmosphere as well. These planets are tidally locked, so that the same side always faces the star, and depending on how much the heat gets redistributed, the dayside can be much hotter than the nightside.
Some hot Jupiters have evidence of hydrogen gas escaping from their atmospheres, and some particularly hot-hot Jupiters show a thermal inversion in their atmosphere — where the temperature increases with altitude. At such high temperatures, molecules like water vapor and titanium oxide and metals like sodium and potassium in the gas phase can be present in the atmosphere.
The Lost Planets: Peter van de Kamp and the Vanishing Exoplanets around Barnard's Star (The MIT Press)
Between 2009 and 2018, NASA's Kepler space telescope discovered thousands of planets. But exoplanets―planets outside the solar system―appeared in science fiction before they appeared in telescopes. Astronomers in the early decades of the twentieth century spent entire careers searching for planets in other stellar systems. In The Lost Planets, John Wenz offers an account of the pioneering astronomer Peter van de Kamp, who was one of the first to claim discovery of exoplanets.
What might explain how a planet ends up so close to its star?
There are three categories of models that people have come up with. One is that maybe these planets form close to their stars to begin with. Originally, people sort of dismissed this. But more recently, astronomers have been taking this theory a bit more seriously as more studies and simulations have shown the conditions under which this could happen.
Another explanation is that during the stage when the planetary system was forming out of a disk of gas and dust, the Jupiter was pulled in closer to its star.
The last explanation is that the Jupiter could have started far away from the star and then gotten onto a very elliptical orbit — probably through gravitational interactions with other bodies in the system — so that it passed very close to the host star. It got so close that the star could raise strong tides on the Jupiter, just like the moon raises tides on the Earth. That could shrink and circularize its orbit so that it ended up close to the star, in the position we observe.
Scientists propose three ways that hot Jupiters might form. In one, the gas giants form in place. In the other two, the giants originate at farther-out orbits, but events gradually draw them in closer. (Knowable Magazine)
Are there things we see in the planetary systems that have hot Jupiters that other systems don’t have?
There are some trends. One is that most hot Jupiters don’t have other small planets nearby, in contrast to other types of planetary systems we see. If we see a small hot planet, or if we see a gas giant that’s a bit farther away from its star, it often has other planets nearby. So hot Jupiters are special in being so lonely.
The loneliness trend ties in to how hot Jupiters formed so close to their stars. In the scenario where the planet gets onto an elliptical orbit that shrinks and circularizes, that would probably wipe out any small planets in the way. That said, there are a few systems where a hot Jupiter does have a small planet nearby. With those, it’s not a good explanation.
Planetary systems with hot Jupiters often have other giant planets in the system farther away — out beyond where the Earth is, typically. Perhaps, if hot Jupiters originated from highly eccentric orbits, those faraway planets are responsible for exciting their eccentricities to begin with. Or there could have been responsible planets that got ejected from the system in the process, so we don’t necessarily have to still see them in the system.
Another big trend is that hot Jupiters tend to be around stars that are more metal-rich. Astronomers refer to metals as any element heavier than hydrogen or helium. There’s more iron and other elements in the star, and we think that this may affect the disk of gas and dust that the planets formed out of. There are more solids available, and that could facilitate forming giant planets by providing material for their cores, which would then accrete gas and become gas giants.
Having more metals in the system could enable the creation of multiple giant planets. That could cause the type of gravitational interaction that would put the hot Jupiter onto a high eccentricity orbit.
Hot Jupiters like 51 Pegasi b were the first type of planet discovered around sun-like stars. What led to their discovery?
It occurred after astronomers started using a technique called the radial velocity method to look for extrasolar planets. They expected to find analogs to our own Jupiter, because giant planets like this would produce the biggest signal. It was a very happy surprise to find hot Jupiters, which produce an even larger signal, on a shorter timescale. It was a surprising but fortuitous discovery.
Can you explain the radial velocity method?
It detects the motion of the host star due to the planet. We often think of stars sitting still and there’s a planet orbiting around it. But the star is actually doing its own little orbit around the center of mass between the two objects, and that’s what the radial velocity method detects. More specifically, it detects the doppler shift of the star’s light as it goes in its orbit and moves towards or away from us.
One of the other common ways to find planets is the transit method, which looks for the dimming of a star’s light due to a planet passing in front of it. It’s easier to find hot Jupiters than smaller planets this way because they block more of the star’s light. And if they are close to the star they transit more frequently in a given period of time, so we’re more likely to detect them.
In the 1990s, many of the exoplanets astronomers discovered were hot Jupiters. Since then, we’ve found more and different kinds of planets — hot Jupiters are relatively rare compared with Neptune-sized worlds and super-Earths. Why is it still important to find and study them?
One big motivation is the fact that they’re out there and that they weren’t predicted from our theories of how planetary systems form and evolve, so there must be some major pieces missing in those theories.
Those missing ingredients probably affect many planetary systems even if the outcome isn’t a hot Jupiter — a hot Jupiter, we think, is probably an extreme outcome. If we don’t have a theory that can make hot Jupiters at all, then we’re probably missing out on those important processes.
A helpful thing about hot Jupiters is that they are a lot easier to detect and characterize using transits and radial velocity, and we can look at the transit at different wavelengths to try to study the atmosphere. They are really helpful windows into planet characterization.
Hot Jupiters are still going to always be the planets we can probe in the most detail. So even though people don’t necessarily get excited about the discovery of a new hot Jupiter anymore, increasing the sample lets us gather more details about their orbits, compositions, sizes or what the rest of their planetary system looks like, to try to test theories of their origins. In turn, they’re teaching us about processes that affect all sorts of planetary systems.
What questions are we going to be able to answer about hot Jupiters as the next-generation observatories come up, such as the James Webb Space Telescope and larger ground-based telescopes?
With James Webb, the hope is to be able to characterize a huge number of hot Jupiters’ atmospheric properties, and these might be able to help us test where they formed and what their formation conditions were like. And my understanding is that James Webb can study hot Jupiters super quickly, so it could get a really big sample of them and help statistically test some of these questions.
The Gaia mission will be really helpful for characterizing the outer part of their planetary systems and in particular can help us measure whether massive and distant planets are in the same plane as a transiting hot Jupiter different theories predict differently on whether that should be the case. Gaia is very special in being able to give us three-dimensional information, when usually we have only a two-dimensional view of the planetary system.
TESS [the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite space telescope] is going on right now — and its discoveries are around really bright stars, so it becomes possible to study the whole system that has a hot Jupiter using the radial velocity method to better characterize the overall architecture of the planetary system. Knowing what’s farther out will help us test some of the ideas about hot Jupiter origins.
TESS and other surveys also have more young stars in the sample. We can see what the occurrence rate and properties are of hot Jupiters closer to when they formed. That, too, will help us distinguish between different formation scenarios.
They’re alien worlds to us, but what can hot Jupiters tell us about the origins of our own solar system? These days, many missions are concentrating on Earth-sized planets.
What we’re all still struggling to see is: Where does our solar system fit into a bigger picture of how planetary systems form and evolve, and what produces the diversity of planetary systems we see? We want to build a very complete blueprint that can explain everything from our solar system, to a system with hot Jupiters, to a system more typical of what [the retired space telescope] Kepler found, which are compact, flat systems of a bunch of super-Earths.
We still don’t have a great explanation for why our solar system doesn’t have a hot Jupiter and other solar systems do. We’d like some broad theory that can explain all types of planetary systems that we’ve observed. By identifying missing processes or physics in our models of planet formation that allow us to account for hot Jupiters, we’re developing that bigger picture.
Do you have any other thoughts?
The one thing I might add is that, as we put together all the evidence for our review, we found that none of the theories can explain everything. And that motivates us to believe that there’s probably multiple ways to make a hot Jupiter — so it’s all the more important to study them.
How to name planets outside our galaxy? - Astronomy
Who decides what to name the planets? And who named them?
The planet names are derived from Roman and Greek mythology, except for the name Earth which is Germanic and Old English in origin. The five planets easily visible with the unaided eye (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) have been observed for all human history as far as we can tell, and they were called different things by different cultures. The Romans named these planets according to their movements and appearence. For example, Venus, the planet that appears the brightest, was named after the Roman goddess of beauty, while the reddish Mars was named after the god of war. These Roman names were adopted by European languages and culture and became standard in science.
When Uranus and Neptune were discovered, there was not an established tradition in place so a few names were considered and used for each planet, until one name became standard. William Herschel, who discovered Uranus, wanted to name it "Georgium Sidus" after King George III. Other astronomers called it "Herschel" after the discoverer. The astronomer Johann Bode suggested that it would be more appropriate to use the mythological name Uranus, which would match with the five planets that were named in antiquity. Despite the suggestion, the name Uranus was not commonly used until 1850.
The existence of the planet Neptune was predicted by two astronomers (John Couch Adams and Urbain Jean Joseph Leverrier), and when it was discovered with telescopes there was a debate about who should be allowed to name it. Leverrier actually wanted to name it after himself. However, the name Neptune was proposed and became the standard used by scientists.
Pluto (now a dwarf planet) was discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. According to the Nine Planets Website, other names suggested for Pluto included Lowell, Atlas, Artemis, Perseus, Vulan, Tantalus, Idana, Cronus, Zymal and Minerva (suggested by the New York Times). The name Pluto was apparently suggested by Venetia Burney, an 11-year-old from Oxford, England, and then recommended to astronomers by the observatory staff. Pluto won out, possibly because it's appropriate for the most distant world to be named after the god of the underworld.
Pluto's moon was named by its discoverer, James Christy, who found the moon in 1978 when studying photographic plates of Pluto. Apparently he wanted to name it after his wife, Charlene, but the nomenclature rules in astronomy wouldn't allow this. However, when he was looking for a different name he came across the Greek mythological figure Charon, which included the first part of his wife's name. Plus it was very appropriate since Charon was the ferryman who carried people to the underworld, which fits very well with the name of its planet, Pluto!
So who's in charge of naming solar system objects that are discovered now? Since its organization in 1919, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has been in charge of naming all celestial objects. When an astronomer discovers an object, or wants to name a surface feature, they can submit a suggestion to the IAU, and the IAU either approves it or suggests a different name. Since we don't think there are any undiscovered planets, the IAU focuses on the naming of moons, surface features, asteroids, and comets and has websites about naming conventions for each. For more information about nomenclature traditions and history, you can look at the IAU Naming of Astronomical Objects page, or the Minor Planet Center site which describes how small objects like asteroids are named. You can also look at the Comet Nomenclature website.
Although the Roman names for the planets are standard in science, other languages do have different names for planets. A good list is at this website. However, the IAU standards are what is used in scientific writing.
interstellar dust: tiny solid grains in interstellar space thought to consist of a core of rocklike material (silicates) or graphite surrounded by a mantle of ices water, methane, and ammonia are probably the most abundant ices
interstellar medium (ISM): (or interstellar matter) the gas and dust between the stars in a galaxy
nebula: a cloud of interstellar gas or dust the term is most often used for clouds that are seen to glow with visible light or infrared
Types of Planets
Terrestrial Planets - Also known as rocky planets, these bodies are composed primarily of rock and metal and have very high densities. They also tend to be relatively small in size and have slow periods of rotation. The terrestrial planets in our solar system are Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. They are the planets closest to the Sun. Terrestrial planets tend to have very few natural satellites, or moons. Of the four terrestrial planets in our solar system, only two have moons. Earth has one moon while Mars has two.
Gas Giants - Four of the outer planets in our solar system are known as gas giants. They are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Gas giants are composed mainly of hydrogen and helium and are quite large in size. Jupiter, for example, is 1000 times larger than the Earth. Gas giants also have low densities and tend have a very fast period of rotation. All four of the gas giants in our solar system have ring systems and a large number of moons. This may be due to the intense gravity of these planets. They may have more of a tendency to capture wandering asteroids and planetoids then the terrestrial planets. It is believed that the ring systems may have formed from old moons that were pulverized by the tidal forces of the planets' gravity.
Dwarf Planets - Dwarf planets are bodies in orbit around a star that are neither planets nor natural satellites. They are massive enough for their shape to be in hydrostatic equilibrium under their own gravity, but they have not cleared the neighborhood around their orbits. Pluto is a prime example of a dwarf planet in out own solar system. Four new dwarf planets have been discovered beyond the orbit of Pluto, and astronomers believe there could be hundreds more. These bodies are so far away that they are difficut to see even with the most powerful telescopes. Many large telescopes are under construction that may be able to help identify new dwarf planet candidates.
How NASA’s New Telescope Will Help Astronomers Discover Free-Floating Worlds
As astronomers discover more and more planets in galaxies far, far away, they are increasingly confronted with a curious subset of orbs that are free-floating and not connected to or orbiting a particular star. Further complicating matters is that within that group, most of what they have found are gassy, Jupiter-sized (read: large), planets few resemble rockier planets like our own Earth.
First discovered in 2003, these potential free-floating planets are elusive and difficult to detect from the existing ground-based observatories.
Soon, however, a revolutionary new telescope launching in 2025 may be able unlock the secrets of the darkness of space, where sunless worlds may even outnumber the stars. NASA's Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will be able to see even more rocky free-floating planets, potentially hundreds as small as Mars, according to research published this August in the Astronomical Journal. These lightless worlds can shine light on how planets formed and what happens to them after their star finally dies.
"The galaxy could be teeming with these free-floating planets, or maybe none," says Scott Gaudi, an astronomer at Ohio State University and an author on the new research. "There could be more Earth-mass planets than stars in the galaxy…Now we'll have the possibility with Roman to figure that out."
The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, named after NASA's first chief astronomer who tirelessly advocated for new tools like Hubble and made several important contributions to the field of astronomy, will engage in a trio of core surveys. Roman will study dark energy, survey a special type of supernovae and discover numerous exoplanets through a technology known as gravitational microlensing.
This technique can reveal objects too dark to discover through other means, objects such as black holes or planets. When an object, like a planet, passes in front of a star, its gravity causes a very slight brightening to the stellar light. The faint magnification, predicted by the theory of general relativity, can provide insights into the passing magnifier. Unlike most other planetary discovery techniques, microlensing can find worlds cast off from their star, drifting through the darkness of space.
"Microlensing can find planets from a little past Earth to the center of the galaxy," says Samson Johnson, a graduate student at Ohio State University and first author on the new research. "It can find planets all throughout the galaxy."
The technique has its own limitations. Once a planet completes the lensing process, it continues to drift through the darkness of space, never to be seen again from Earth. But Johnson says that's not a huge problem—after all, astronomy is full of transient, one-time events. "You don't ask a supernova to explode again, you don't ask black holes to re-merge," he says.
While free-floating planets may saturate space, finding them is something of a crapshoot. The process requires three objects—Earth, the background star, and the undiscovered mystery object—line up precisely. Rather than looking at a single star and waiting for the odds to be in their favor, astronomers instead perform massive surveys watching hundreds of millions of stars at the same time for the subtle brightening caused by microlensing. These enormous surveys allow astronomers to discover as many as 2,000 to 3,000 potential microlensing events each year, only a handful of which are wandering planets, according to microlensing observer Przemek Mroz, an astronomer at CalTech who was not part of the new research.
Earth’s atmosphere creates interference than can make these small events difficult to observe. What sets Roman apart is that it will be orbiting in space, allowing it watch for even briefer microlensing events that represent smaller planets. Additionally, since most such telescope surveys are performed using optical light, the part of the spectrum that humans see with their eyes, they cannot peer through the dust in the center of the galaxy. Roman will rely on infrared light rather than optical, allowing it to peer into the heart of the galaxy, dramatically increasing its ability to discover free-floating worlds.
New Earth-sized worlds discovered by Roman can help researchers understand the messy process of planet formation. Previous solar system observations led scientists to suspect that the giant planets, especially Jupiter, used their gravity to hurl some of the planetary embryos and young planets out of the solar system, a process likely repeated in other systems. Roman can help to spot some of those lost worlds and determine roughly how many were ejected.
But planets aren't only lost during the first moments of their lives. Passing stars can wrangle away worlds that are only loosely connected to their star. A parent star can also drive away its planetary children as it evolves. In a few billion years, our own sun will swell up to a red giant, shedding enough stellar material that its gravitational hold on its planets will weaken, allowing some to wander away.
Some planets may even form without the help of a star. Recent studies suggest that a small enough pocket of gas and dust could collapse to form not a star but a gas giant.
While scientists can't verify the source of a single free-floating planet because none of the ejection processes leave their fingerprint on the world, a statistical look at the population should provide its own insights. Enter Roman, which will discover a wealth of new starless worlds. "If we find a bunch of Earth-mass planets, they almost certainly formed around a star," Gaudi says, because self-forming planets require more mass.
Roman's observations should provide insights about the free-floating worlds and how they became wanderers in space. "We're starting to run into the limit of what we can do from the ground with ground-based microlensing surveys," Gaudi says. "That's why we need to go to space and use Roman."
About Nola Taylor Redd
Nola Taylor Redd is a freelance science writer with a focus on space and astronomy. She is based out of Pennsylvania.
Astronomy for Kids: How to Explore Outer Space with Binoculars, a Telescope, or Just Your Eyes! By Bruce Betts, PhD
One of the coolest things about outer space is that anyone can explore it. All you have to do is go outside and look up! Using plain sight, binoculars, or a small telescope, Astronomy for Kids shows stargazers how easy it is to explore space, just by stepping outside.
With this book as their guide to the northern hemisphere, kids will learn to find and name amazing objects in the night sky. Fully illustrated with fun facts throughout, kids can point out sights to friends and family, saying things like, “that’s Jupiter,” and, “those stars are the constellation Cygnus the Swan,” and maybe even, “that group of stars doesn’t have a name but I think it looks like my dog getting belly rubs.”
From the Milky Way Galaxy to Mars to the Moon’s craters and mountains―Astronomy for Kids helps young astronomers discover important parts of our solar system, with:
- 30 sights for the naked eye (yes, 30!) objects to see without any equipment, including Orion’s Belt, the Big Dipper, Mars, and even the International Space Station.
- 25 sights magnified with binoculars or a basic telescope to make objects in the sky easier to find and explore. Plus, buying tips and usage tricks to get the most out of astronomy equipment.
- Clear illustrations that show kids where to look and what they can expect to see.
Like all big things, outer space is something you have to see to believe. Astronomy for Kids teaches kids that planets, shooting stars, constellations, and meteor showers are not only in books―but right above them.
Scientists discover three brand new planets hiding in our own galaxy
Three baby planets have been found in our own galaxy by pioneering scientists.
They are the youngest planets ever seen, and represent a discovery that is "at the frontier of science". Researchers used a breakthrough new technique to find the newly-formed worlds around a young star relatively close to our own.
They now hope they can find yet more of the strange worlds, using the same technique. And the discovery could shed lights on how planets form at their very earliest stages.
Thousands of exoplanets have been discovered already, largely using the Kepler space telescope, which watches for the dips of light that they cause as they pass in front of their star. But protoplanets of this kind cannot be found using those techniques.
"Though thousands of exoplanets have been discovered in the last few decades, detecting protoplanets is at the frontier of science," said Christophe Pinte of Monash University in Australia and lead author on one of the two papers.
The scientists found the planets by looking out for disturbances in the gas-filled disk around the star. They looked for a particular kind of light that is emitted by the movement of carbon monoxide – which allows them to understand how the gas in the disk is churning around.
If there were no planets in the disk, then the gas would move with a simple, predictable pattern. But unusual movement would seem to suggest there is some large body there.
"It would take a relatively massive object, like a planet, to create localized disturbances in this otherwise orderly motion," said Pinte. "Our new technique applies this principle to help us understand how planetary systems form."
They saw three of those disturbances, each of which is thought to be caused by a different planet.
There are other potential explanations for the strange data coming back from the star. But the new findings are the strongest evidence yet that there are new worlds forming in our own galactic neighbourhood.