Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Free-floating planets in the Milky Way outnumber stars by factors of thousands

May 11, 2012
A few hundred thousand billion free-floating life-bearing Earth-sized planets may exist in the space between stars in the Milky Way. So argues an international team of scientists led by Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe, Director of the Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology at the University of Buckingham, UK. Their findings are published online in the Springer journal Astrophysics and Space Science.

The scientists have proposed that these life-bearing planets originated in the early Universe within a few million years of the Big Bang, and that they make up most of the so-called "missing mass" of galaxies. The scientists calculate that such a planetary body would cross the inner solar system every 25 million years on the average and during each transit, zodiacal dust, including a component of the solar system's living cells, becomes implanted at its surface. The free-floating planets would then have the added property of mixing the products of local biological evolution on a galaxy-wide scale.

Since 1995, when the first extrasolar planet was reported, interest in searching for planets has reached a feverish pitch. The 750 or so detections of exoplanets are all of planets orbiting stars, and very few, if any, have been deemed potential candidates for life. The possibility of a much larger number of planets was first suggested in earlier studies where the effects of gravitational lensing of distant quasars by intervening planet-sized bodies were measured. Recently several groups of investigators have suggested that a few billion such objects could exist in the galaxy.
Wickramasinghe and team have increased this grand total of planets to a few hundred thousand billion (a few thousand for every Milky Way star) - each one harbouring the legacy of cosmic primordial life.

Reference:

Wickramasinghe NC et al (2012). Life-bearing primordial planets in the solar vicinity. Astrophysics and Space Science; DOI 10.1007/s10509-012-1092-8

Springer


Related Milky Way Current Events and Milky Way News Articles


New Milky Way maps help solve stubborn interstellar material mystery
An international team of sky scholars, including a key researcher from Johns Hopkins, has produced new maps of the material located between the stars in the Milky Way.

Astrophysicists Detect Destruction of Three Stars by Black Holes
Researchers from MIPT and the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences have reported registering three possible occasions of thetidal destruction of stars by supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies.

Triangulum galaxy snapped by VST
Messier 33, otherwise known as NGC 598, is located about three million light-years away in the small northern constellation of Triangulum (The Triangle).

Fermi satellite detects gamma-rays from exploding novae
The Universe is home to a variety of exotic objects and beautiful phenomena, some of which can generate almost inconceivable amounts of energy. ASU Regents' Professor Sumner Starrfield is part of a team that used the Large Area Telescope (LAT) onboard NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope satellite to discover very high energy gamma rays (the most energetic form of light) being emitted by an exploding star.

Hubble Shows Farthest Lensing Galaxy Yields Clues to Early Universe
Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have unexpectedly discovered the most distant galaxy that acts as a cosmic magnifying glass. Seen here as it looked 9.6 billion years ago, this monster elliptical galaxy breaks the previous record-holder by 200 million years.

ALMA finds double star with weird and wild planet-forming discs
From movies to television, obesity is still considered "fair game" for jokes and ridicule. A new study from researchers at Bowling Green State University took a closer look at weight-related humor to see if anti-fat attitudes played into a person's appreciation or distaste for fat humor in the media.

Research finds numerous unknown jets from young stars and planetary nebulae
For many years astronomers have known that young 'protostars' drive supersonic jets of gas from their north and south poles. However, this is the first time that so many of them have been detected at once.

Weighing the Milky Way
Does the Milky Way look fat in this picture? Has Andromeda been taking skinny selfies? It turns out the way some astrophysicists have been studying our galaxy made it appear that the Milky Way might be more massive than it's neighbor down the street, Andromeda.

Hubble traces the halo of a galaxy more accurately than ever before
Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have probed the extreme outskirts of the stunning elliptical galaxy Centaurus A.

Mysterious dance of dwarfs may force a cosmic rethink
The discovery that many small galaxies throughout the universe do not 'swarm' around larger ones like bees do but 'dance' in orderly disc-shaped orbits is a challenge to our understanding of how the universe formed and evolved.
More Milky Way Current Events and Milky Way News Articles

The Milky Way: An Insider's Guide

The Milky Way: An Insider's Guide
by William H. Waller (Author)


This book offers an intimate guide to the Milky Way, taking readers on a grand tour of our home Galaxy's structure, genesis, and evolution, based on the latest astronomical findings. In engaging language, it tells how the Milky Way congealed from blobs of gas and dark matter into a spinning starry abode brimming with diverse planetary systems--some of which may be hosting myriad life forms and perhaps even other technologically communicative species. William Waller vividly describes the Milky Way as it appears in the night sky, acquainting readers with its key components and telling the history of our changing galactic perceptions. The ancients believed the Milky Way was a home for the gods. Today we know it is but one galaxy among billions of others in the observable universe. Within...

Coming of Age in the Milky Way

Coming of Age in the Milky Way
by Timothy Ferris (Author)


From the second-century celestial models of Ptolemy to modern-day research institutes and quantum theory, this classic book offers a breathtaking tour of astronomy and the brilliant, eccentric personalities who have shaped it. From the first time mankind had an inkling of the vast space that surrounds us, those who study the universe have had to struggle against political and religious preconceptions. They have included some of the most charismatic, courageous, and idiosyncratic thinkers of all time. In Coming of Age in the Milky Way, Timothy Ferris uses his unique blend of rigorous research and captivating narrative skill to draw us into the lives and minds of these extraordinary figures, creating a landmark work of scientific history.

The Milky Way [Tubed] (National Geographic Reference Map)

The Milky Way [Tubed] (National Geographic Reference Map)
by National Geographic Maps - Reference (Author)


This computer-generated image of the Milky Way shows the entire galaxy in one perspective of a 3-D model compiled specially for National Geographic. The model incorporates the positions of hundreds of thousands of stars and nebulae within the galaxy, shows Earth’s location, and includes additional photographs, descriptions and locations of fascinating phenomena throughout the Milky Way.

Map is printed on premium quality paper stock, rolled, and packaged in a clear, hard plastic tube.

Sheet Size = 31.25 x 20.25Scale =

The Milky Way and Other Galaxies (The Solar System and Beyond)

The Milky Way and Other Galaxies (The Solar System and Beyond)
by Megan Kopp (Author)


They're huge collections of gas, dust, and stars. And our solar system calls one of them home. Get up close to the galaxies that spin around the universe.

MILKY WAYS COLONIZATION

MILKY WAYS COLONIZATION


Sean was raised by his uncle after his parents died under suspicious circumstances. His inherited knack for physics from his physicist parents is relentless in his pursuit of particle acceleration for his space ship’s propulsion system. His research couldn’t have been timelier when the globe turns violent and unstable. During his pursuits his neighbor catches his eye and is whisked into his world

Chasing the Milky Way

Chasing the Milky Way
by Erin E. Moulton (Author)


In a book that pairs science with mental illness, and heart with adventure, Erin E. Moulton delivers a moving story about family, friendship and the lengths we go for the people we love.

Lucy Peevy has a dream--to get out of the trailer park she lives in and become a famous scientist. And she's already figured out how to do that: Build a robot that will win a cash prize at the BotBlock competition and save it for college. But when you've got a mama who doesn't always take her meds, it's not easy to achieve those goals. Especially when Lucy's mama takes her, her baby sister Izzy, and their neighbor Cam away in her convertible, bound for parts unknown. But Lucy, Izzy and Cam are good at sticking together, and even better at solving problems. But not all problems have the best...

Tyler : Milky Way

Tyler : Milky Way
by Muriel Jensen (Author)


Milky Way: Welcome To Tyler, by Jensen, Muriel

Milky Way Galaxy! Learn About Milky Way Galaxy and Enjoy Colorful Pictures - Look and Learn! (50+ Photos of Milky Way Galaxy)

Milky Way Galaxy! Learn About Milky Way Galaxy and Enjoy Colorful Pictures - Look and Learn! (50+ Photos of Milky Way Galaxy)


Are your kids interested in Milky Way Galaxy? Awesome! You have found the right book. Help your children learn more about Milky Way Galaxy today by reading this book.

Here is what is included inside "Milky Way Galaxy! Learn About Milky Way Galaxy and Enjoy Colorful Pictures – Look and Learn!"...

Milky Way Galaxy
Space
Solar Systems
Milky Way Galaxy Images
Milky Way Galaxy Facts
Milky Way Galaxy Neighbors
Milky Way Galaxy Structures
Planets
Nebulas
Fun Milky Way Galaxy Facts
And Lots More!

Includes over 50 high quality photos of Milky Way Galaxy!

Other bonuses inside "Milky Way Galaxy! Learn About Milky Way Galaxy and Enjoy Colorful Pictures – Look and Learn!"...
  Coming of Age in the Milky Way
by Timothy Ferris (Author)




The Night Sky 30°-40° (Large; North Latitude)

The Night Sky 30°-40° (Large; North Latitude)
by David S. Chandler (Author), David Chandler Company (Editor), Milky Way by Don Davis (Editor)


The Night Sky is a rotating star finder (planisphere) that allows the user to recognize the constellations for any time of night, any day of the year. The sky appears to rotate (due to the rotation and orbital motion of the earth), so to be successful recognizing the constellations a beginner needs to know which stars are above the horizon at any time. This is the full-sized version of The Night Sky suitable for the 30°-40° latitude zone (southern half of the US, North Africa, Middle East, etc.). There are editions for the following latitude zones: 50°-60°, 40°-50°, 30°-40°, 20°-30°, and the Southern Hemisphere. There are also pocket-sized versions available for the same latitude zones.

© 2014 BrightSurf.com