Rogue Planets

"I have seen the dark universe yawning
Where the black planets roll without aim,
Where they roll in their horror unheeded,
Without knowledge, or lustre, or name.
― H. P. Lovecraft, Nemesis

A rogue planet (also known by the terms interstellar planet, nomad planet, free-floating planet, unbound planet, orphan planet, wandering planet, starless planet, or sunless planet) is a planet that does not orbit a star. It is theorized that these exist in large numbers, though there is wide disparity in estimates of their numbers - with estimates suggesting from 0.25 "planets per star" and an astonishing 100,000 planets per star in our galaxy.

Even at the low estimate that would be 50,000,000,000 rogue planets, wandering lost in the interstellar deep...

It has been theorized that rogue planets may have formed either in a manner similar to stars - from accretion of material due to gravity - or that they may have been ejected from their solar systems; flying off from their orbits.

Existence of planets has been posited as a cause of microlensing - an astronomical phenomenon. A massive object passing in front of a bright background object will bend the light coming from it due to the gravitational lens effect. with microlensing, the apparent brightening of the source by a smaller object such as a planet, is still detectable.

Scientists in 2011 observed 50 million stars and picked up 474 incidents of microlensing, ten of which had the right characteristics to be planets of the approximate size of Jupiter, leading them to estimate that there were approximately 2 rogue Planets per star in the galaxy.

It is anticipated that many more rogue planets will be discovered in the coming years, though visual observation is of course very difficult due to the fact that they do not emit light and are not bound to any star.

It has also been theorized that some may potentially harbor conditions suitable for life due to warmth from geological processes in their interior.

It is regarded as possible that there are extragalactic planets unattached to any galaxy, though due to the extreme distances involved they have not yet been detected directly. However scientists have tentatively detected an exoplanet in the Andromeda galaxy

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