View Full Version : Baby Free-Floating Planet Found Alone, Away From A Star

2013-Oct-10, 12:50 PM
The planetary world keeps getting stranger. Scientists have found free-floating planets — drifting alone, away from stars — before. But the “newborn” PSO J318.5-22 (only 12 million years old) shows properties similar to other young planets around young stars, even though there is no star nearby the planet. (...)Read the rest of Baby Free-Floating Planet […]

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2013-Oct-11, 09:42 AM
I haven't posted here for a very long time. However, I saw the article about this at CNN, and became curious about it.

As you know, a gas cloud cannot collapse into something that small. One interesting possibility is that PSO J318.5-22 formed at some distance from its parent star(s), comparable to Proxima Centauri in that system. Thus, it would be possible for a planet to form at a similar distance from the center, and then to be gently pulled off by a passing star. Which, of course, would be very easy with a planet that far out.

(As described in the full preliminary paper, Section 3.2, P.5, the only observable velocity of PSO J318.5-22 in space was the same as that of the gas cloud and stars in the region where it was formed, so it was not ejected out of its parent system by the bodies in it. I found it very interesting that this most likely scenario for its creation was ruled out in this case.)

Obviously, this has ramifications for interstellar travel. To simply travel ftl, but still exist in the physical, will be impractical. Even hitting an object the size of a grain of sand, would be catastrophic at that speed. And, of course, this is assuming that the other very daunting challenges are solved. Clearly, some type of jumping/teleportation will be required.

Edit: I've decided not to edit or delete any part of the above, but instead, to note that I've changed my mind about PSO J318.5-22 being pulled off its parent star(s). This is because, due to its youth, it could not have moved very far, and there are apparently no candidate star systems near enough to fit the bill.

I also wanted to note that in the paper, P.5, top, it was mentioned that PSO J318.5-22 has a radius only 0.8 that of Jupiter, yet with 6.5x the mass. They note the apparent implausibility of this small radius, but not any sources of error, which will probably be addressed in the final paper. As the saying goes, extraordinary results require extraordinary proof.

Because its motion is the same as the Beta Pictoris Moving Group, it can be confidently stated that PSO J318.5-22 formed there, and that there are likely to be at least a few clues about its formation there, as well.