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TheSpaceWriter's Ramblings

Life on a Rogue Planet…. Or, Not

30 Oct 2020, 22:06 UTC
Life on a Rogue Planet…. Or, Not
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

I got to thinking about all the planets in the galaxy that we know about (or are about to discover). Are there weird ones that aren’t quite in the same category as the Earth-types, hot Jupiters, super Neptunes, etc? Well, sure. There are rogue planets. They’re little worlds (usually smaller than Earth) that, end up wandering the galaxy instead of marching around stars. For one reason or another, these “rogue planets” escaped their systems at some point during the formation process. It happens as worlds are jostled around in the disk of material from which they form. Most of the time, the jostling results in a reshuffling of worlds. This is likely what happened with our gas giant planets early in the solar system’s birth process. Gravitational interactions basically push things around. A planet born in one area moves to a more distant orbit. Or, in the case of a rogue planet, it is ejected from the system altogether. In some cases, they have never been formally gravitationally bound to a star. No matter their origins, these lonely rogues are doomed to wander the galaxy forever.

An artist’s impression of a gravitational microlensing event by a free-floating planet. Credit: ...

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