Using a huge amount of archival observations and data collected from a number of astronomical observatories within the NOIRlab group of the US National Science Foundation, researchers were able to discover at least 70 new “floating” planets in space without a solar system.
These planets are considered the largest sample of this type found in a single group, and the Phys Organization website says that it “floats” in a region “close” to the Milky Way.
This discovery doubles the known number of this type of “wandering” planet.
These planets swim in a region known as the “Scorpio upper region”, and among them are large planets, up to the size of Jupiter.
The first “floating” planets were discovered in the nineties, and the number currently known to be 170 planets.
This group was discovered by a team of astronomers at Bordeaux University in France, and the data of a group of American observatories, in addition to the telescopes of the European Southern Observatory, and the Canadian-French telescope “Hawaii” were used in its study.
The team studied about 80,000 astronomical images provided by these observatories over a period of twenty years. These planets are about 420 light years from Earth.
The team faced the challenge of the fact that these planets do not swim in the orbit of any star, which makes them relatively dark and difficult to detect, but the discovery was made through the heat that these planets emit.
The site quoted the astronomical team leader as saying, “We measured the small movements, colors and brightness of tens of millions of sources in a large region of the sky.”
Scientists say that these planets may have formed from “small” gas clouds that do not have a sufficient size to turn into stars, or they may have been “expelled” from their solar system by a mechanism that is still unknown.