Earth-sized rogue planet found floating in Milky Way

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
  • Follow author on
Earth-sized floating planet
Representational Image

A rogue Earth-sized planet has been discovered by a team of scientists from the University of Warsaw in Poland.

This is said to be the smallest free-floating planet discovered so far and it is sized somewhere between the Earth and Mars. Rogue planets are essentially not bound by any star and float freely in space. They are floating directionless as they have been expelled from their parent planet after the gravitational interaction with the other bodies.

Scientists claim that this new rogue planet may be found somewhere in the center of the Milky Way. The scientists used a technology called microlensing for discovering the rogue planet. This advanced technology will help them to discover new planets and other space objects.

Dr. Przemek Mroz, one of the researchers involved in this project used Twitter to explain what rogue planets are and what microlensing is.

“Rogue planets don’t orbit stars, they are gravitationally unattached to any host star. They don’t emit any visible radiation, so they cannot be detected using traditional astrophysical techniques. However, if such a planet happens to pass in front of a distant background star (known as a source), its gravity may deflect and magnify light from the source. Observer on Earth will see a temporary brightening of the source, which we call a gravitational microlensing event. They call this event as ‘the most extreme short-timescale microlens discovered to date.” he tweeted.

Dr. Mroz added that they did not find any star near the lens, but they could not rule out the possibility of orbiting a star. The American science and technology magazine, American scientist reports that the scientists still need to do further research to confirm the ‘rogue’ status of the planet. Once it is confirmed, then it will be the smallest free-floating planet discovered so far. These rogue planets help the researchers in discovering the formation of planets.