A team of scientists has identified a planet similar in size to Earth that it floats in the Milky Way and is not gravitationally attached to any star.
This call “rebel planet”, has been discovered by a group of scientists from the United States and Poland, who have published the finding in the journal ‘Astrophysical Journal Letters’, where they assure that it is the smallest ever identified to date.
To detect the planet, the scientists used a tool called ‘gravitational microlens’, which made the planet visible by interfering with the light from more distant stars located behind it.
“The possibilities of observing microlenses are extremely slim because three objects (source, lens and observer) must be almost perfectly aligned”, states article author and astronomer Przemek Mroz of the California Institute of Technology.
In addition, the group of scientists affirms that, really, this planet would not be an isolated case, but that our galaxy could be full of rogue planets. Astronomers believe that these types of planets can form from the dense gas and dust around the stars, and that they are violently ejected from their original planetary systems after experiencing gravitational interactions with other space bodies.
The same team He already found ten similar objects in 2011, the size of Jupiter (much greater than the current one, which they estimate to have a lower mass than Earth but greater than that of Mars), and that they did not have a parent star either.