Earth-Sized Free Floating Rogue Planet Discovered in Milky Way

Newly discovered Earth-like rogue planet might be smallest free floating world

Astronomy: Earth-sized rogue planet is discovered roaming the Milky Way without a parent star

On the other hand, one thing to wonder was whether there was a planet such as Earth that is far enough away from a star like Earth to have life on it.

Over four thousand extrasolar planets have been discovered to date.

"This is the first time that all of the pieces have been put together to provide a reliable measurement of the number of potentially habitable planets in the galaxy", said co-author Jeff Coughlin, an exoplanet researcher at the SETI Institute and Director of Kepler's Science Office. It's a big claim, but an upcoming mission might actually prove it.

Scientists say it is the smallest "rogue" planet ever found. A New study, The same astronomers have now discovered such a tiny planet.

The researchers believe that the event was caused by a planet smaller than Earth, and possibly around the size of Mars.

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Free-floating planets may be abundant, but they're notoriously hard to detect.

Polish researchers spotted a brief brightening of a star, caused, they believe, by an Earth-sized planet wandering in front of another star.

The very first detection of one of these objects is a huge step towards understanding how many of these rogue worlds are out there in the dark.

This is because massive objects bend the spacetime around them, making light travel in a different path.

Gravitational lensing occurs when a massive galaxy or cluster of galaxies bend the light emitted from a more distant galaxy. When a planet passes between the Earth and the background star, the exoplanet's gravity will focus the light from the star.

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"The chance of observing microlensing phenomena is extremely small, because three objects (the source, the lens and the observer) must be nearly perfectly aligned. If we noticed just one supply star, we must wait almost 1,000,000 years to see the supply being microlensed", said Przemek Mróz, who co-authored a brand new examine on the findings, printed in Astrophysical Journal Letters. Chile's Las Campanas Observatory collected the data with the help of the Warsaw Telescope. The OGLE team is proficient at using this technique, having detected many rogue planets before.

Every night, the OGLE survey's 1.3-meter Warsaw Telescope scans the Milky Way center, home to hundreds of millions of stars, looking for changes in stellar brightness. Really massive objects can create microlensing events that last for days, while some rogue planets can produce events lasting for a few hours. It's the lensing object's mass that matters.

Known as OGLE-2016-BLG-1928, this event is the shortest micro lens event in just 42 minutes.

But collisions between objects on grander scales, or even coming too close to another planet in orbit around the star, or the star itself, can kick the planet out of its system. With a mass somewhere in-between that of the Earth and Mars, the planet is thought to be the smallest of its kind to have been discovered.

Sadly, this is all we know about this little lost planet.

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So astronomers have to turn to other observation methods, such as microlensing.

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