Hint of planet-sized drifters bewilders Hubble scientists

June 28, 2001

Piercing the heart of a globular star cluster, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered tantalizing clues to what could be a strange and unexpected population of wandering, planet-sized objects.

The orbiting observatory detected these bodies in the globular cluster M22 by the way their gravity bends the light from background stars, a phenomenon called microlensing. These microlensing events were unusually brief, indicating that the mass of the intervening objects could be as little as 80 times that of Earth. Bodies this small have never been detected by microlensing observations.
EDITORS NOTE: For additional information, please contact Dr. Kailash Sahu, Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218, 410-338-4930 (phone), ksahu@stsci.edu (e-mail).

Images, illustrations, and animation for this release are available on the Web at: http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/pr/2001/20, and via links in http://hubble.stsci.edu/go/newshttp://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/latest.html, http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/pictures.html and http://hubble.esa.int.

The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA), for NASA, under contract with the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA).

This release is issued jointly by NASA and ESA.

To receive STScI press releases electronically, send an Internet electronic mail message to public-request@stsci.edu. Leave the subject line blank, and type the word subscribe in the body of the message. The system will respond with a confirmation of the subscription, and you will receive new press releases as they are issued. Please subscribe using the email account with which you would like to receive list messages. To unsubscribe, send email to public-request@stsci.edu. Leave the subject line blank, and type the word unsubscribe in the body of the message. Please unsubscribe using the email account that you used to subscribe to the list.

CONTACT: Ray Villard, Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD, Phone: 410-338-4514; E-mail: villard@stsci.edu. Kailash Sahu Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD Phone: 410-338-4930; E-mail: ksahu@stsci.edu. Nino Panagia, European Space Agency/Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD Phone: 410-338-4916; E-mail: panagia@stsci.edu. Lars Lindberg Christensen Hubble European Space Agency Information Center, Garching, Germany Phone: 49-0-89-3200-6306; Cellular-24 hr: 49-0-173-38-72-621; E-mail: lars@eso.org.


Space Telescope Science Institute

Related Hubble Space Telescope Articles from Brightsurf:

Spitzer space telescope legacy chronicled in Nature Astronomy
A national team of scientists Thursday published in the journal Nature Astronomy two papers that provide an inventory of the major discoveries made possible thanks to Spitzer and offer guidance on where the next generation of explorers should point the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) when it launches in October 2021.

Unveiling rogue planets with NASA's Roman Space Telescope
New simulations show that NASA's Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will be able to reveal myriad rogue planets - freely floating bodies that drift through our galaxy untethered to a star.

Hubble makes the first observation of a total lunar eclipse by a space telescope
Taking advantage of a total lunar eclipse, astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have detected ozone in Earth's atmosphere.

Stunning space butterfly captured by ESO telescope
Resembling a butterfly with its symmetrical structure, beautiful colours, and intricate patterns, this striking bubble of gas -- known as NGC 2899 -- appears to float and flutter across the sky in this new picture from ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT).

Hubble marks 30 years in space with tapestry of blazing starbirth
NASA is celebrating the Hubble Space Telescope's 30 years of unlocking the beauty and mystery of space by unveiling a stunning new portrait of a firestorm of starbirth in a neighboring galaxy.

CHEOPS space telescope ready for scientific operation
CHEOPS has reached its next milestone: Following extensive tests in Earth's orbit, some of which the mission team was forced to carry out from home due to the coronavirus crisis, the space telescope has been declared ready for science.

Scientists build a 'Hubble Space Telescope' to study multiple genome sequences
Scientists can now simultaneously compare 1.4 million genetic sequences, helping classify how species are related to each other at far larger scales than previously possible.

Kepler Space Telescope's first exoplanet candidate confirmed
An international team of astronomers announced the confirmation of the first exoplanet candidate identified by NASA's Kepler Mission.

Space telescope detects water in a number of asteroids
Using the infrared satellite AKARI, a Japanese research team has detected the existence of water in the form of hydrated minerals in a number of asteroids for the first time.

The Hubble Space Telescope discovers the most distant star ever observed
An international team, including researchers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and the University of La Laguna (ULL), participated in the discovery of a star at a distance of nine billion lightyears from Earth.

Read More: Hubble Space Telescope News and Hubble Space Telescope Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.