Looks pretty rogue to us: This image crafted for a video depicts a free-floating planetary body.
What happens when planetary bodies go rogue? Well, that’s one universal mystery that scientists didn’t actually know of until a team of Japanese researchers claimed to have found 10 such free-range roamers—and what’s more, they might be shockingly common in space. —KA
Indeed, the researchers hypothesise these objects were formed in a planetary disc, like the planets in our own Solar System, before gravitational forces ejected them from these systems.
Professor Joachim Wambsganss of the University of Heidelberg in Germany, who reviewed the study for Nature, said this was the “most plausible theory”. However, he added there was a minority view that planets could form the same way that stars do, but fail to reach the critical point of thermonuclear ignition.
He too agreed the most “shocking” element of the data was the projected frequency of such objects.
Dr Martin Dominik of the University of St Andrews in Scotland agreed, and said he would be “a bit cautious” about the results.