Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

10/10/2013 (6 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Who would have thought astronomers could be so cruel?

If you traveled at the speed of light, it would still take a lifetime to arrive, but eighty light years from Earth astronomers believe they have discovered a lone planet, without a parent star. You may be lonely, but nothing is as lonely as this solitary giant.

PSO J318.5-22 appears as a red dot in the center of this image. It is certifiably the most lonely planet yet discovered.

PSO J318.5-22 appears as a red dot in the center of this image. It is certifiably the most lonely planet yet discovered.

Article Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/10/2013 (6 months ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: PSO J318.5-22, planet, rogue, Jupiter, mass, discovery


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Adding insult to injury, its discovering astronomers have dubbed the planet a "rogue" cruelly pointing out that it appears to be an orphan without any parent whatsoever.

Far, far away from our Solar System, and even farther than several stars, astronomers have found, by direct imaging, a planet six times the size of Jupiter gliding gracefully through the heavens without a parent star in sight.

The lone world must be exceedingly cold without a star to warm it, but it still gives off infrared radiation, likely because if its size.

Dubbed PSO J318.5-22, the planet was discovered with the pan-STARRS 1 wide field survey telescope on Halekala, Maui.

The planet is the first to be clearly identified as a "rogue planet" or a planet without a parent star to orbit.

Previous reports of similar objects have not been clearly delineated to be planets or "brown dwarfs," which are not planets at all, but failed stars a bit too small to shine brightly.

In this case, it appears to clearly be a planet.

Rogue planets are just one of many rogue objects in space, that is objects just cruising through interstellar space without orbiting a parent body. Although this is the first such confirmed observation, the phenomenon is thought to be relatively common.

Rogue planets are created when gravitational perturbations of normal planetary orbits result from interactions with other planets, stars, or even black holes. Interactions with another gravitational force likely stripped the planet away from its parent star and flung it into space.

Such objects are difficult to detect because astronomers have no way of spotting them directly, other than luck. Planets orbiting stars are easy to find because they cause their parent stars to wobble as they orbit. Rogue planets however, have no parent start to shake, buy instead they float alone through space.

While this makes them much harder to discover, it also makes them easier to study. Rogue planets don't have a star to wash out the faint light shining off them, which allows scientists to determine the chemical makeup to the planet's atmosphere.

Scientists say they know this is a planet and not a brown dwarf because it shines redder than brown dwarfs do. Follow up observations confirmed the object was consistent with a planet as opposed to a failed star.

The planet is thought to be very young, possibly an offspring from the Beta Pictoris group which is a family of stars that formed just 12 million years ago. Astronomers have already discovered a giant planet orbiting the chief star of the group, Beta Pictoris. That planet is at least eight times the size of Jupiter.

Astronomers hope to learn more about rogue planets by studying PSO J318.5-22 further. Let's just hope they are kind enough to give it an easier name in the meantime.


Discover the true meaning of Christmas!

---


Pope Francis calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More Technology

A NEW EARTH? Astronomers discover remarkably similar planet to our own Watch

Image of The Goldilocks zone, or habitable zone, is the belt around a star where temperatures are ideal for liquid water to pool on a planet's surface.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Astronomers have announced that they have found a planet that is remarkably similar to Earth. Called Kepler-186f, the planet 1.1 times the size of Earth orbiting a star - "only" 490 light years away. Kepler-186f is the first planet discovered with the right ... continue reading


EYES TO THE HEAVENS: Astronomers say there may be a 'new Saturn moon' Watch

Image of The disturbance in the edge of the ring is 20 percent brighter than its surroundings and about 750 miles long and six miles wide.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

All eyes are on the heavens as astronomers theorize that another moon for the ringed planet of Saturn may be on its way. If the heavenly body in the rings of Saturn is confirmed, it would make for the planet's 63rd moon. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


IS THE SECOND COMING NIGH? Four blood moons this year all occur on Jewish holidays Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As climate change wreaks havoc worldwide, and relations between the U.S. and Russia reach a low point over Ukraine, some Christians say that the phenomenon of the "Blood moon" may mean that Christ's return is rapidly approaching. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Will Alibaba devour Facebook? China's massive Alibaba is coming to conquer the United States Watch

Image of Yahoo's dominance has since dwindled as Alibaba has since grown into a global powerhouse.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ali Baba for those in the west usually means the storybook leader of a gang of fearless, 40 thieves. But this will soon change. A massive e-commerce site from China, Alibaba, with revenue larger than Amazon and eBay combined has decided to go public in the ... continue reading


Drone images reveal more about mysterious buried village in New Mexico Watch

Image of Drone images have captured fascinating new details about a buried Native American village in New Mexico.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Drone images have captured fascinating new details about a buried Native American village in New Mexico. Thermal images captured by the small drone allowed archaeologists to peer under the surface of the desert floor, revealing never-before-seen structures. LOS ... continue reading


New 'Star Wars' gun fires shells seven times the speed of sound through concrete -- 100 miles away Watch

Image of The rail gun will be mounted on high-speed vessel the USNS Millinocket for sea trials in 2016.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A futuristic lethal new weapon capable of firing a shell at seven times the speed of sound has since been successfully tested on land. Conjuring up images of iconic sci-fi villains as Darth Vader, researchers have called the new rail gun as being of 'Star Wars' ... continue reading


KETTLE CALLING THE POT BLACK? Internet search engines exhibiting double standards Watch

Image of An old cliche -- that bears repeating --

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Certain cliché sayings come to mind: The kettle calling the pot black, having one's cake and eating it too . Google, along with Facebook and Yahoo have come down hard on the Obama administration for information gathering - but NOW don't want their ... continue reading


Scientists discover massive asteroid hit Earth so hard that oceans evaporated Watch

Image of Earth was struck several times by massive asteroids billions of years ago.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Scientists from Stanford University say they have found evidence of another cataclysmic cosmic collision between Earth and another asteroid billions of years ago. This asteroid, they say, was so large it punched a hole in the Earth's crust and caused earthquakes around ... continue reading


Why is NASA rejecting definitive proof of life on Mars? Watch

Image of Curiosity recently captures this image that shows light on the ground on Mars. NASA thinks it's just a glint off rock or some other similar anomaly.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Curiosity rover has photographed what appears to be light emanating from the ground on Mars. UFO and alien life enthusiasts as well as conspiracy theorists have all claimed the light is evidence of life on the Red Planet. NASA however, is not so sure. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


HANG ON TOTO! Astronomers calculate the speed of the Universe's expansion Watch

Image of Hang on! The universe is expanding at 1 percent per 44 million years, which is fast if you consider the size of the universe is at least 46 billion years in radius!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Hold on to your hat, Toto, we're about to leave Kansas. Astronomers say they have calculated the expansion rate of the universe and their discovery is very surprising. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Astronomers have long been interested in measuring the expansion ... continue reading


All Technology News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 52:13--53:12
13 Look, my servant will prosper, will grow great, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25
2 turn your ear to me, make haste. Be for me a ... Read More

Gospel, John 18:1--19:42
1 After he had said all this, Jesus left with his ... Read More

Reading 2, Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
14 Since in Jesus, the Son of God, we have the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 18th, 2014 Image

St. Apollonius the Apologist
April 18: Martyr whose Apologia, or defense of the faith, is considered ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter