JAKARTA, NNC - Scientists recently discovered two free-floating planets without any star to orbit in the Milky Way.
Because of the difficulty of mapping starless planets, it is still unknown how big these rogue worlds really are.
Using a technique known as gravitational microlensing, researchers say a region known as the Galactic bulge may be home to a planet with a size similar to the planet Neptune, while the galaxy’s disk may host a planet with a similar mass to Earth’s.
The new planet candidates were found in data from the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE).
Despite the uncertainties, researchers say the discovery is in line with how planet formation theories predict, which is that these planets may have been ejected from their own systems long ago.
"While making statistical inferences out of such a small sample of events is risky, we show that these detections are consistent with low-mass lenses being common in the Milky Way, unless the fact that events occurred on bright giant stars is just a coincidence," researchers said, as quoted by Daily Mail, Monday (11/12/2018).