Lonely planet found wandering a mere 80 light years from Earth

A NASA artist rendering of a hypothetical gas ...

A NASA artist rendering of a hypothetical gas giant extrasolar planet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m constantly amazed at the new things we find.  Five hundred trillion miles away and we’ve spotted a planet, but no ordinary planet, one which is not orbiting a star but is just wandering aimlessly in space.

 

PSO J318.5-22

P  lanet, exo-planet, unattached, no home to call your place.

S  olitary, drifting, free-floating on the gravity waves of space.

O  ut there, flotsam on the spatial seas, no hurry, no worry, no urge for pace.

J   upiter is dwarfed by you, gas-giant, and yet you’re still so young.

3  times four million years of youth and your journey’s just begun.

1  You’re the first we’ve seen, the only one, unshackled by a mother sun.

8  times 10 light-years from earth; your distance hides you, keeps you out of sight.

.   That’s you, a point, a dot, a pin-prick in the haystack of the stellar night.

5  hundred trillion miles away and you’ve set the scientific world alight

–   we wonder are you the only one on space’s distant shores.

2  would be good; two would even up the score,

2  would create hypothesis; one would be a freak but two would speak of more.

P  S  O  J  three, one, eight point five, dash two two,
nomadic exo-planet,
now we’ve found you, what should we do?

 

10th October 2013 – headline from the Guardian

Notes:  “Lonely planet found wandering a mere 80 light years from Earth.”  Astronomers have found a planet, a mere 80 light years from Earth, that is wandering the heavens alone. The free-floating planet, named PSO J318.5-22, is a gas giant with six times the mass of Jupiter and is a relative newborn as far as planets go, having formed only 12 million years ago.  “We have never before seen an object free-floating in space that that looks like this. It has all the characteristics of young planets found around other stars, but it is drifting out there all alone,” said Michael Liu of the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, who helped to find the planet. “I had often wondered if such solitary objects exist, and now we know they do.”

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