Rogue Extrasolar Planet Discovered, Free-Floating Planet Discovered Only 100 Light Years Away

November 16, 2012 in Space

A rogue free-floating planet, completely unattached to any star has been found by researchers working at the ESO’s Very Large Telescope and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. This is the first confirmed observation of a planet wandering throughout space without a parent star, though such planets have long been theorized to exist in great quantities throughout the universe.


This is also the closest such free-floating planet candidate yet discovered, at only about 100 light-years away. Because it is somewhat close and there are no bright stars located near it, researchers have actually been able to study its atmosphere in very great detail.

“Free-floating planets are planetary-mass objects that roam through space without any ties to a star. Possible examples of such objects have been found before, but without knowing their ages, it was not possible for astronomers to know whether they were really planets or brown dwarfs — ‘failed’ stars that lack the bulk to trigger the reactions that make stars shine.”

But the new object, currently named CFBDSIR2149, has changed that. The planet seems to be emerging from a nearby stream of young stars called the AB Doradus Moving Group.

Read the rest of this entry →

Planet With Four Suns Discovered, Circumbinary Planet In Quadruple Star System

October 16, 2012 in Space

A new planet has been discovered that has four suns in its sky. It directly orbits two of the stars, which are in turn orbited by two distant stars. The circumbinary star is the first of its kind to be discovered, and was originally spotted not by professional researchers but by citizen scientists from the website


A Yale-led international team of researchers confirmed its discovery of the planet and then characterized it as a circumbinary planet in a four-star system.

So far, out of all the planets discovered, only six of them are known to orbit double stars, and until now none of them were orbited by other stars.

“Circumbinary planets are the extremes of planet formation,” said lead author Meg Schwamb of Yale.

Read the rest of this entry →

Water On The Moon Produced By The Solar Wind

October 14, 2012 in Space

The solar wind appears to be the source of the water that has been found on the moon, according to new research. The water that is locked inside the lunar soils was very likely formed from the interaction of oxygen particles on the moon’s surface with the charged particles streaming from the sun, researchers from the University of Michigan have suggested.


The discovery of water on the moon was fairly recent; during just the last five years, numerous spacecraft observations and new analysis’s of the lunar samples taken by Apollo missions “have overturned the long-held belief that the moon is bone-dry.”

NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing satellite (LCROSS) was crashed into a permanently shadowed lunar crater in 2009, ejecting a plume of lunar material that was very dense with water ice. And the lunar regolith itself has been shown by various means to contain water, the regolith is what covers the lunar surface, a very fine layer of dust and rock fragments.

The source of this water has remained a debated point though. The primary theories have been that it was deposited by comets or other space debris. But theoretical models of “lunar water stability dating to the late 1970s suggest that hydrogen ions (protons) from the solar wind can combine with oxygen on the moon’s surface to form water and related compounds called hydroxyls, which consist of one atom of hydrogen and one of oxygen and are known as OH.”

But in the new research, infrared spectroscopy and mass spectrometry analyses of lunar samples taken by Apollo have shown that there are significant amounts of hydroxyl inside the glasses that are present in the samples. These glasses were created in the samples by micrometeorite impacts on the moon.

Read the rest of this entry →

How ‘Order’ Emerges From The ‘Random’ Motion Of Particles In The Universe

October 9, 2012 in Physics, Space

Understanding how highly organized structures are able to form and emerge from the seemingly random motion of particles remains one of the primary goals of science.


The recent, and somewhat surprising, discovery of “self-organized electromagnetic fields in counter-streaming ionized gases (also known as plasmas) will give scientists a new way to explore how order emerges from chaos in the cosmos.”

Read the rest of this entry →

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons