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.

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