Around 300 Million Habitable Planets in the Milky Way

Katie Ramirez
November 2, 2020

However, in the Milky Way it could be a number of rogue planets, and scientists have suggested that they could surpass the stars in our galaxy.

The smallest rogue planet in the galaxy has been discovered by Polish astronomers. Based on the event, astronomers estimated the planet to have a Mars-like mass and found it to be rogue.

Free-floating planets emit virtually no radiation and-by definition-they do not orbit any host star.

These rogue planets can be further examined by what is called the microlensing.

Astronomers have found an Earth-sized rogue planet.

"Probabilities of observing microlensing are extraordinarily slim as a result of three objects - supply, lens and observer - should be practically completely aligned". In this case, the planet's gravity (mirror) acts as a kind of magnifying glass, behind which it is able to divert the light of a bright star (source) so that an observer can detect its presence on Earth. We now lack the technology to directly image exoplanets in most instances, so we can only locate them by observing the stars they orbit. "Their detection using classical methods is practically impossible". Twisted light transmitted from a star in the forefront shows a gravitational distorting, which they regard to be brought about by a planet, simply going through the casing.

Lead study author Przemek Mroz, a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology, told Live Science in an email that the odds of "detecting such a low-mass object are extremely low".

That's the reason modern surveys hunting for gravitational microlensing events are monitoring hundreds of millions of stars in the Milky Way center, where the chances of microlensing are highest.

Because of the brevity of the event, additional observations collected by the Korea Microlensing Telescope Network (KMTNet) were needed to characterize the event.

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"The light of the entire disk of the source star is focused by the gravitational lens". They did not have any parent star within the distance of 10 astronomical units. However, theories of planet formation and evolution predict the existence of free-floating (rogue) planets, gravitationally unattached to any star.

The event, known as OGLE-2016-BLG-1928, is the shortest microlensing event ever, at just 42 minutes.

"Microlensing events attributed to free-floating planets have timescales of barely a few hours".

The new exoplanet, the smallest free-floating planet astronomers have found, is too small to be observed directly.

It is not entirely clear why these rogue planets have no original stars, but scientists do not think the planets had any say in the matter.

This theory was first proposed by Einstein in his theory of General Relativity.

Rodosla Poleski, co-author of the study at the Astronomical Observatory at the University of Warsaw, said: "When we first identified the phenomenon, it was clear that it was caused by a tiny object".

The new study was published online on 29 October in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

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