Discoveries show that an elusive-Earth-sized object is creeping through the Milky Way!
Scientists have long hypothesized about roving planets, which cruise through galaxies and orbit no star.
The planet isn’t held on an orbit by the gravitational pull of a sun, so it doesn’t radiate light the same orbital planets do, which means that regular test models can’t prove or predict their existence and evolution, so they need to resort to novel means of detection.
The same team from the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) discovered the smallest planet ever found with the help of their evolved methods, and it might be one of a plethora in the Milky Way!
Past techniques worked via dimming light patterns to discover new planets, which make the star look like it’s flickering as the object cruises between a star and the observer.
The astronomers of the Astronomical Observatory of the University of Warsaw managed to detect the planets thanks to a phenomenon known as “gravitational microlensing.”
It works a lot like a magnifying glass – Bended light from a star in the foreground is a sign of a gravitational warping, which is seemingly provoked by a planet that happens to pass through that frame.
The detection can also happen with ground-based telescopes. However, the method isn’t always reliable, as many variables need to be taken into account.
Przemek Mroz, the co-author of the new study on the findings, stated in an article posted in Astrophysical Journal Letters:
“Chances of observing microlensing are extremely slim because three objects — source, lens, and observer — must be nearly perfectly aligned. If we observed only one source star, we would have to wait almost a million years to see the source being microlensed.”