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Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have spotted something extraordinary. Apparently there are planet-sized objects wandering through a distant globular cluster of stars. Unlike the planets in our own solar system, however, these objects are loners -- they have no central star of their own
This could be just the tip of the iceberg. The team estimates there are about twice as many free-floating Jupiter-mass planets as stars. In addition, these worlds are thought to be at least as common as planets that orbit stars. This adds up to hundreds of billions of lone planets in our Milky Way galaxy alone.
it is likely that some planets are ejected from their early, turbulent solar systems, due to close gravitational encounters with other planets or stars. Without a star to circle, these planets would move through the galaxy as our sun and others stars do, in stable orbits around the galaxy's center. The discovery of 10 free-floating Jupiters supports the ejection scenario, though it's possible both mechanisms are at play.
Usually I find your posts intelligent and a delight to read, but this is a rare exception.
Originally posted by Illustronic
Still not in any of these threads about this same topic has there been a link to the article in Nature journal from May 19th that sites a confirmed discovery. No Nature link, no confirmed reference, it didn't happen, its speculation!!!
Regarding speculation, the abstract does say "If these are also microlensing events" which implies by use of the word "if" that they aren't completely sure, so that could be called somewhat, though perhaps not completely speculative.
Here we report a microlensing event associated with the globular cluster M22. We determine the mass of the lens to be 0.13+0.03-0.02 solar masses. We have also detected six events that are unresolved in time. If these are also microlensing events, they imply that a non-negligible fraction of the cluster mass resides in the form of free-floating planetary-mass objects.