New study finds there may be 100,000 more ‘nomad planets’ than stars roaming the Milky Way Galaxy

February 23, 2012 SPACEIn fact, there may be 100,000 more “nomad planets” in the Milky Way than stars, according to a new study by researchers at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC), a joint institute of Stanford University and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.  If observations confirm the estimate, this new class of celestial objects will affect current theories of planet formation and could change our understanding of the origin and abundance of life. “If any of these nomad planets are big enough to have a thick atmosphere, they could have trapped enough heat for bacterial life to exist,” said Louis Strigari, leader of the team that reported the result in a paper submitted to the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Although nomad planets don’t bask in the warmth of a star, they may generate heat through internal radioactive decay and tectonic activity. Searches over the past two decades have identified more than 500 planets outside our solar system, almost all of which orbit stars. Last year, researchers detected about a dozen nomad planets, using a technique called gravitational micro-lensing, which looks for stars whose light is momentarily refocused by the gravity of passing planets. The research produced evidence that roughly two nomads exist for every typical, so-called main-sequence star in our galaxy. The new study estimates that nomads may be up to 50,000 times more common than that. To arrive at what Strigari himself called “an astronomical number,” the KIPAC team took into account the known gravitational pull of the Milky Way galaxy, the amount of matter available to make such objects and how that matter might divvy itself up into objects ranging from the size of Pluto to larger than Jupiter. Not an easy task, considering no one is quite sure how these bodies form. According to Strigari, some were probably ejected from solar systems, but research indicates that not all of them could have formed in that fashion. –Physics
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5 Responses to New study finds there may be 100,000 more ‘nomad planets’ than stars roaming the Milky Way Galaxy

  1. nickk0 says:

    Cool !! 8)
    This is rather fascinating.


  2. MalachiYAH says:

    Niburu? (planet x)


  3. Tom says:

    Could that be suggestive that a rogue nomad planet could be loose in this solar system as well, something like the alleged Nibiru or Planet-X, that swings by every 3,000 years or so, bringing a bevy of Nephilm with it?


    • i

      Nomads” meaning roaming planet’s outside solar systems and therefore outside elliptical orbital patterns. They were likely ejected from the solar system because they were formed on periphery of planets orbit and their gravity and mass could not support the model. It was widely believed by people like Immanuel Velikovsky that Venus was one such planet that may have wandered too close to the solar system and was pulled in by the Sun and may have caused a solar system wide catacylsm as a result. With the exception of Pluto, which is probably an asteroid or moon, the planets are basically stacked ranked by similar size which would have pulled Venus closer to Earth in such a scenario.


  4. ufo says:

    That is cool, but i am actually not surprised.


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