(Image source: European Southern Observatory)

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN
ANCHOR ZACH TOOMBS


It’s not coming to knock Earth off its axis when the Mayan calendar ends, but astronomers did find a rogue planet in our galactic neighborhood.


The planet hangs out near a hip young group of stars, but doesn’t orbit any of them. It’s a free-floating renegade, meaning it travels on its own without a parent star. (Via European Southern Observatory)

It may have formed along with the stars, and either has always been a lone wolf or started out orbiting a star before being ejected somehow.

Astronomers have discovered several orphan planets over the past decade — so many that some astronomers think they outnumber stars by nearly two to one. (Video via BBC)

This particular rogue planet doesn’t reflect much light, but it showed up as a bright blue dot when astronomers looked in infrared. It’s roughly four to seven times the mass of Jupiter. (Video via ESO)

So what does the discovery mean? For astronomers, it offers a rare opportunity to study a nearby exoplanet without having to deal with the glare from a star.

It also means NASA scientists have to field questions about the mythical Nibiru, a rogue planet that plays a role in many 2012 doomsday predictions. An official NASA statement said:

“If Nibiru or Planet X were real and headed for an encounter with the Earth in 2012, astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye.”

If they’re wrong, we’ll find out in about 5 weeks. The predicted doomsday is set for December 21.

Rogue Planet Discovered in Interstellar Space

by Steven Sparkman
0
Transcript
Nov 14, 2012

Rogue Planet Discovered in Interstellar Space

 

 

(Image source: European Southern Observatory)

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN
ANCHOR ZACH TOOMBS


It’s not coming to knock Earth off its axis when the Mayan calendar ends, but astronomers did find a rogue planet in our galactic neighborhood.


The planet hangs out near a hip young group of stars, but doesn’t orbit any of them. It’s a free-floating renegade, meaning it travels on its own without a parent star. (Via European Southern Observatory)

It may have formed along with the stars, and either has always been a lone wolf or started out orbiting a star before being ejected somehow.

Astronomers have discovered several orphan planets over the past decade — so many that some astronomers think they outnumber stars by nearly two to one. (Video via BBC)

This particular rogue planet doesn’t reflect much light, but it showed up as a bright blue dot when astronomers looked in infrared. It’s roughly four to seven times the mass of Jupiter. (Video via ESO)

So what does the discovery mean? For astronomers, it offers a rare opportunity to study a nearby exoplanet without having to deal with the glare from a star.

It also means NASA scientists have to field questions about the mythical Nibiru, a rogue planet that plays a role in many 2012 doomsday predictions. An official NASA statement said:

“If Nibiru or Planet X were real and headed for an encounter with the Earth in 2012, astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye.”

If they’re wrong, we’ll find out in about 5 weeks. The predicted doomsday is set for December 21.

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