"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Little Lost Planet

Well, not so little -- it's about the size of Jupiter, but much heavier:

Montreal astronomers have found a lonely planet drifting through space without a solar system to call home.

It is 130 light-years from Earth, four light-years from the nearest star, in a region so dark it's invisible to ordinary telescopes.

But the new "rogue" planet, called CFBDSIR2149, gave away its position because it is warm - about 400 C - and heat shows up on infrared telescopes. . . .

"We've suspected for some time that objects like this exist," said René Doyon, a senior astronomer at the Université de Montréal. In fact, large objects have been detected in more distant parts of space. But this is the first one that's planet-sized and not too far from Earth.

The new planet is about the size of Jupiter, but it's believed to weigh between four and seven times more than Jupiter. The astronomers think it has a rocky centre surrounded by dense gas, which is the source of its heat.

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