AN ABUNDANCE OF PLANETS
What planet are you from? This is something people ask me all the time. Would they ask it if I didn’t have a propeller on my beanie?
The thing is, the list of planets is growing.
According to Roger D. Blandford (Director of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford University), there could be as many as 4,000,000,000,000,000 (4 quadrillion) stars in the Milky Way. or about 10,000 planets for each sun.
Isn’t that 9,992 more than anybody’s noticed for our own sun/star? If they’re out there, where, really, could they be that they’ve gone undiscovered all this time?
Dr. Blanford’s referring to a fairly new category of planets called “rogue planets” which, unlike Mars and Venus and Earth and other civilized rocks, don’t orbit a star but, instead, roguishly follow their own independent paths. According to this theory, when galaxies collide, they disrupt the orbits of planets, sending them off hither. And thither. And yon.
No longer orbiting a star, they would have tended to escape the notice of astronomers and planet hunting satellites such as Kepler. But if life had already become established on such planets before they got bumped out of orbit, life would have a good chance of surviving its new sunless condition (and THAT is according to Dimitar D. Sasselov of Harvard).
Well. Let’s be careful.
There’s some evidence in this stuff. Which makes for good science. And there’s some speculation in this stuff. Which makes for fun science. Mister ScienceAintSoBad would be remiss if he didn’t dispense a pinch of salt with this study for now.
More to come.
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(The hat is from China Wholesale Town, by the way.)