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back to article ROGUE PLANET WITHOUT A SUN spotted in interstellar space

In images, it doesn’t look like much: just a blue dot against the black of space. What’s exciting about this little planet is that it has somehow manage to escape its star. Even getting an image of the object, dubbed CFBDSIR2149, is a pretty good trick: CFBDSIR2149 is only visible in the infrared, and then, only just (it appears …

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Anonymous Coward

They can locate a planet 100 light years away but my GPS still wants to send me the wrong way up a one way street on my morning commute.

Science.

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Engineering!

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Anonymous Coward

Apple Maps by any chance?

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Anonymous Coward

Looks like someone sneezed on the lens.

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Facepalm

They can show you the planet, but don't ask for directions...

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I vaugely remember a short story about explorers encountering a sole planet so far away from other stars that the inhabitants were amazed that the universe contained anything more than just them. Wish I could remember what it was called.

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Earth?

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H2G2

@J.G. Harston: Sounds like Krikkit? http://hitchhikers.wikia.com/wiki/Krikkit

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Re: H2G2

Not quite as remote, but Iain M Banks' "Against a Dark Background" is set (to very good effect) on a solar system that's been ejected from its galaxy.

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Go

Blish (who is completely out of favour as an SF writer - too intellectual) pointed out that drives which manipulate gravity or space need not be attached to a vehicle - they can just be attached to anything that you want to move. His "Cities in Flight" series describes whole commercial cities which specialise in specific services - often mining or refining - traveling the galaxy looking for work.

At one point a small planet is provided with propulsion in this way. Perhaps.....

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"Welllll, Jjjohn..."

Cdr JK: VIKtor, what ISS it?

Prof. B: Wellll, Jjjjohn.. I am not sure....

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Boffin

Or...

My first thought was Telos, but I believe it was supposed to be Earth-sized.

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Angel

"I vaugely remember a short story about explorers encountering a sole planet so far away from other stars that the inhabitants were amazed that the universe contained anything more than just them. Wish I could remember what it was called."

Well it wasn't the Bible then....

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Re: Or...

Anorak primed.

I think you meant Mondas from 'The Tenth Planet' in which William Hartnell had a lie down and woke up as Patrick Troughton.

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Coat

Re: Or...

"I think you meant Mondas from 'The Tenth Planet' [...]"

Aaargh, yes. Right story, wrong Cyber-planet. In my defense, I'm not old enough to have seen the broadcast and it's been decades since I read the novelization.

Getting my coat because clearly my anorak privileges will be suspended.

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Very strange stuff

(a) How can something without a star be a planet

and

(b) How can such a 'planet' have an atmosphere

Think about it.

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Happy

Re: Very strange stuff

'Planet' <Noun> (gk) Wanderer

'Atmosphere' <Noun> Gaseous envelope held onto surface of Planet (q.v) by Gravity.

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Re: Very strange stuff

(a) The planet originally developed around the star, but was torn loose due to gravitational interactions.

and

(b) It's a planet, why can't it have an atmosphere? If you mean why has it's atmosphere not frozen solid, well Jupiter emits more energy than it absorbs from the Sun due to gravitational contraction (it shrinks about 1 cm in radius per century).

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Re: Very strange stuff

There's also a grey zone between a wandering gas giant planet and a brown dwarf star. Jupiter emits more energy than it receives from Sol, because something (probably a very small amount of hydrogen fusion) is going on in its core.

"Torn loose by gravitational interactions" implies some sort of catastrophic interaction such as another star passing close to a solar system. That's not necessary. Any solar system with more than two bodies is stable only in a statistical sense. A 3,4, ... N body gravitationally bound system is chaotic, and it is always possible that what appears to be a stable orbit will in fact end up with one of the planets ceasing to be gravitationally bound to its sun.

You'll be unsurprised to know that the future of the solar system has been carefully modelled. Earth is safe for the next 200M years or so. Beyond that, we can't say. The observations aren't good enough to distinguish longer-term stability from its opposite. Such is the nature of a chaotic system. An unmeasurably small difference today may be the difference between earth remaining in orbit or not, 300M years hence. "Past performance may not be a reliable guide to future performance"!

Back to mini brown dwarfs or large wandering planets, it's possible that these might be the last habitable places after all the universe's stars have burned themselves out. Has anyone ever written a far-future SF story set on or within one?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Very strange stuff

"because something (probably a very small amount of hydrogen fusion) is going on in its core."

Oh dear, Mars is apparently experiencing climate change. It could be dangerous if Jupiter has the same...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Very strange stuff

"a) How can something without a star be a planet"

If we don't keep up repayments on the Sun we'll find out.

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Re: Very strange stuff

Wow commentards! A planet with still some hydrogen fusion in its core, and an atmosphere, and no star in sight. And gravitation causing high temperatures too. I like it. Keep the downvotes coming!

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Boffin

Re: Very strange stuff

(a) is just a naming convention. Doesn't fit neatly into any other category, exo-planet will do for the moment.

(b) atmsophere is dependent on the planet's own gravity and composition, only slightly affected by suns and neighbouring planets

What's really curious for me is the temperature of 430C - it's out in deep space and can't be absorbing heat from anywhere else, in fact even considering a thick pea-soup atmosphere it must be losing heat to it's surroundings, and must have been doing so for a loooooong time. So is it possible that it's producing energy through very low-level fusion only happening deep in the core?

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Re: Very strange stuff

"So is it possible that it's producing energy through very low-level fusion only happening deep in the core?"

Not necessary. It's even bigger than Jupiter and both Jupiter and Saturn produce more heat than they receive. The steady compression of all that mass + slow natural radioactive decay produce more than enough heat to reach a few hundred degrees.

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Alien

Re: Very strange stuff

"Not necessary. It's even bigger than Jupiter and both Jupiter and Saturn produce more heat than they receive."

True, but even so they're still bloody cold.

"The steady compression of all that mass + slow natural radioactive decay produce more than enough heat to reach a few hundred degrees."

There would have to be an unfeasible amount of radioactivity to heat a gass giant planet 7 times the mass of jupiter up to 430C given that the majority of its mass (if it is a gas giant) won't be made of anything radioactive. More than likely it is just gravitation compression as you said + residue heat from its formation.

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Pint

Re: Very strange stuff

According to NASA website, Jupiter's surface temperature is -145C. Core temperature is unknown but "may be about" 24,000 C. Also found this nugget on universetoday: "Jupiter would have to add about 80 times its current mass in order to become massive enough to ignite fusion"

Since this planet is 7 times Jupiter's mass likely no fusion, just compression, and if surface temp is around 400C, core most be rather hot enough to warrant a few beers

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Alien

Re: Very strange stuff

Easy, it's the Pierson's Puppeteers homeworld.

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Facepalm

Re: Very strange stuff, that heat

The heat is a side-effect of the Blish drives, plus the air conditioners...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Very strange stuff

430°C might seem hot at first without a star to warm it, but please remember that it is still a very young planet: somewhere between 50 million and 120 million years old. It hasn't had much time to cool down from when it was formed.

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Re: Very strange stuff

It's very young so its going to be generating a lot of internal heat as it compacts under gravity and then differentiates according to density. And we're talking about an enormous amount of energy - the Earth obtained something like 2.5 * 10^32J from compression and another 1 * 10^31J during the formation of the Core.

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Coat

Too obvious?

"It's too big to be a space station." "I have a bad feeling about this."

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Unhappy

Re: Too obvious?

The article misses some important details about the planet that really need answering:

a) Does this planet have horns?

b) Is it largely made of metal?

c) Is it voiced by Orson Wells?

Deeply concerned minds wish to know.

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Pint

Re: Too obvious?

Perhaps It's a moon escaped from a planet.

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Coat

Re: Perhaps...

That's no Moon...

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Mushroom

Re: Too obvious?

@Lars

If it was, it should be called CFBDSIR1999.

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Re: Too obvious?

In that case if it isn't Moonbase Alpha it's the whole moon

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Re: Too obvious?

And another important question.

d) Is it coming our way?

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Re:that's no moon...

You beat me to it, dammit. It's clearly the Death Star.

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Holmes

Awesome,.... first thing I thought of when I read the headline!!!

Knew by the comments someone had posted this already.... obviously its a death star, and will be here in 2 years - moving at Warp speed (50 x speed of light)

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87%?

"The astronomers believe there’s an 87 percent chance that CFBDSIR2149 is associated with the AB Doradus Moving Group, based on a comparison of images taken by the WIRCam instrument at CFH and the ESO’s SOFI camera."

Fallacy of misplaced precision?

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Paris Hilton

Re: 87%?

For all we know, they quantize their values to 0,29,58,87 and 100 %

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Alien

Oh crap...

it's the Vegan Orbital Fort...

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Unhappy

Re: Oh crap...

Thanks for the warning. I'm going out now, to buy a bigger freezer and begin stockpiling beefburgers.

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Mushroom

What they failed to mention

Is it's headed straight for earth and should arrive within the next millennium..

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Boffin

Re: What they failed to mention

That means it's traveling at > 0.1c.

Maybe we should ask xkcd about the effect the earth's impact on this planet has at those speeds.

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Cue Space 1999 theme tune!

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Alien

Space 1999.....

Sadly a missed opportunity for an update at the appropriate time.

(i.e. You could of had the big explosion in the first episode creating a big sucky worm hole type thing. The worm hole obviously slurps the moon to a random piece of space for adventures to occur and disappears. But then ,because it's a weird worm hole, it reappears, (maybe 50 minutes TV time later), and continues it's suckage. Gives the writers quite a lot of scope for random encounters, political infighting, and killing off of expensive characters/actors when needs must. )

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cue.... the breakaway tracks from when

The Enterprise Bridge view screen fills and when the 1701 is groaning trying to break away.

Of course, what would all that be without the pointed eyebrows and tha command "DEEFLEKTOR SHEELDS -- FULLLL INTENSITEEEE!" :-)

"DEFLEKTORS SAY THERE'S SOMETHING THERRR --- SENSORS SAY THERE'S NOTTT??? READINGS GO OFFFF MY SCAYUL!" (WNMHGB)

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Alien

My brain is mush this morning --

But my first thought on reading this was .. Oh look, the Puppeteers are coming. I'm just wondering if I'm remembering that correctly. I think not.

BINGO! - we Need a "coffee" Icon.!

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Boffin

Re: My brain is mush this morning --

You are only partially wrong. The error is that the Puppeteers have five worlds in a "Kemplerer Rosette" (I believe that was what Niven called it. He was wrong anyway.) rather than just one.

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