Lone Ranger

We usually defined a planet as something that orbits a star but this lone ranger a.k.a. nomad planet, rogue planet, free-floating planet, or  orphan planet is unique since they do not orbit a star. Instead, they orbit the galaxy directly and considered as homeless world where they have neither sunrises nor sunsets (starless planet).

What Are Rogue Planets by YouTube

Migration appears to be quite common for planetary systems like the Jovian-type planets that migrate inward in some planetary systems due to close gravitational encounters in which one object loses energy and moves inward while other object gains energy and flung outward. Hence, it is reasonable to expect many planets have been ejected from their planetary system into interstellar space.

These planets are so difficult to detect directly because they are so dim, but how on Earth could we find them?

HOW by GIPHY

The best method for now is by using technique called gravitational microlensing.  This technique takes advantage of gravity’s ability to bend light. These occur when massive object like a rogue planet passes between a star and Earth, the “lone ranger” acts as a lens which make the star’s light curve as seen from Earth. The lone ranger’s gravity warps the light of the background star causing it to magnify the same way as the lens work. In general, the bigger the planet, the more affected the light causing brightening events that can last for weeks which is way longer than small planets only last for few days or less.

One observational search found that these lone ranger might be twice as numerous as the stars in our galaxy. Therefore, the studies of the “lone ranger” are still going on and perhaps in the future, one of these planets could be Earth 2.0 .

Rogue Planets

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2 thoughts on “Lone Ranger

  1. I read about rogue planets a.k.a. orphan planets somewhere in the textbooks and it is absolutely amazing. We initially define a planet as something orbiting the star, so I thought that if a planet does not orbit around a star, then it will die. Different case happen for rogue planet. If there were microbial organisms living on the planets, just how are they thriving without the energy from the sunlight?

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    1. Even on Earth, deep in the ocean where light cannot reach there, the microbial organisms can still live even without sunlight. Based on my reading as well, I figured out that there are different source of energy for these planets.

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