It is easy to lose something small, it might slip down the back of the sofa, or you might drop it on a night out but surely it is a lot harder to lose something the size of a planet?
Ok, well no one has lost anything quite this big, because well frankly it never belonged to anyone. I am, however, referring to rouge planets and their stars. These are huge wandering worlds slowly meandering across the universe perhaps looking for a parent star to take them into their protective care.
There is one particular lost world, which was only discovered in the winter of last year that has everyone in the planetary scientific community mystified.
This bizarre place does not have a name of yet but is known by its scientific designation: CFBDSIR 2149-0403. For the purpose of this article I would like to nickname it ‘Columbus’
‘Columbus’ lies about 100 light-years from us here on Earth and is about the size of 4-7 Jupiter’s. We judge exosolar planets on their comparable size to our biggest heavenly neighbour because, well, we have no comprehension on just how massive these spheres are. Temperatures on ‘Columbus’ get as hot as Mercury, reaching at least 700 Kelvin or around 425 Degrees Celsius.
It is highly likely that ‘Columbus’ was created in a gas cloud similar to the one that formed our solar system; it would have originally had a parent star to orbit around just as we do the Sun. Then after a few millennia the Planet would have been ejected of its orbit by a huge force, most probably another planet or even star.
Now this lonely domain is scheduled to spend the rest of its existence slowly rambling throughout the cosmos. Maybe ‘Columbus’ will get lucky and full into the orbit of a star big enough to hold its mass or maybe this planet’s fate lies in eventual vaporisation and destruction.
Scientists will continue to watch as ‘Columbus’ embarks on the next leg of its exploratory journey. Whilst it does they will also keep their eyes peeled for any other ambling orbs.
- Water discovered in remnants of extrasolar rocky world orbiting white dwarf (esciencenews.com)
- Kepler finds first known tilted solar system (richarddawkins.net)
- Uluru Adventures – The Cosmic Guardians’ Message (thecosmicearth.com)
- Um, Where Did This Little Orphan Planet Come From? (theatlantic.com)