Planets that aren’t linked to any solar system are pretty common throughout the Universe. They are also called rogue planets, and some scientists even believe that they’re more numerous than stars. While we can’t be sure just how prevalent rogue planets are, it’s exciting when another one gets discovered by astronomers who are also eager to analyze it.
A team of scientists belonging to the KMTN (Korean Microlensing Telescope Network) collaboration and the OGLE (Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment) collaboration had been analyzing a new rogue planet that’s about the same mass as Earth.
Long live the microlensing technique
Since rogue planets can not emit any light and aren’t illuminated from any star by definition, scientists had to choose a different method for spotting these rebellious cosmic objects. They opted for the microlensing technique within the study led by Przemek Mróz, who is a postdoctoral scholar in astronomy at Caltech. More precisely, the gravitational lensing, can be done in a pretty simple way: you need a distant light source like a star and a closer object that has enough mass to act as a lens. The latter object will bend the light coming from the star or from another source.
There’s no telling just how far the newfound rogue planet is, but it’s certain that it exists.
One official statement writes:
According to planet-formation theories, such as the core accretion theory, typical masses of ejected planets should be between 0.3 and 1.0 Earth masses,
In another statement, it says:
Microlensing events due to terrestrial-mass rogue planets are expected to have extremely small angular Einstein radii (.1 µas) and extremely short timescales (0.1 day).
It’s theoretically impossible for a rogue planet to host any life forms, which means that these objects could be receiving less attention than they deserve. All life as we know it requires solar energy to survive.