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The Lone Planet

Scientists have recently discovered a low-mass planet, drifting around in space without a star to orbit.  Difficult to discover due to the lack of a bright star nearby to signal its location, free floating planets are in fact easier for scientists to study than those near stars.  WIthout a source of brighter light nearby, actual direct imaging of the planet can be taken without the interference stars normally give.  The planet was discovered while scientists in Hawaii tried to find Brown Dwarf stars, using the Pan-STARRS 1 wide-field survey telescope.  However unlikely due to the raw amount of data that the PS1 telescope receives, a grand total of around 4,000 terabytes, the planet was discovered over the course of a two-year mapping project that also discovered the distance of the planet to Earth.  Although much larger and younger, the planet strongly resembles the conditions found upon Jupiter, which scientists hope will be able to shed new light on an early gas-giant’s life.  



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This entry was posted on October 13, 2013 by .
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