Our galaxy may be filled with stray planets are floating in interstellar space, not connected with any stars.
As it turned out, in the Milky Way the number of "planets strangers" can be 100 000 times greater than the number of stars. These results were obtained in the course of new research laboratory at Stanford University.
If observations confirm this calculation, it will radically change the current theories of planet formation and our understanding of the origin and spread of life. "If the size of these planets orphans are large enough to support a thick layer of the atmosphere, then they can be kept high temperature, making it possible for them dwelling organisms," - said Louis Strigari, who heads the team, who published the study in the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society Monthly Notices. Although the lonely planet devoid of heat from the stars, they may generate heat due to the internal radioactive decay and tectonic activity.
Over the past two decades, astronomers have discovered more than 500 planets outside our solar system, almost all of which revolve around stars. Last year, it was found about a dozen planets strangers, using a technique called gravitational microlensing, which is based on the effect of bending light when it passes near a massive object. Last year’s study suggested that for every star typical of the so-called main sequence for about two planets orphans, but a new study, such pilgrims can be 50,000 times more common than this figure.
How to obtain this astronomical, in all senses, the number? In their calculations, Strigati take into account the gravitational attraction of the Milky Way galaxy, the amount of matter and how this matter can be shared between different objects.
Any accurate count of small objects will only be possible with the next generation of research telescopes, such as the cosmic infrared Wide Survey Telescope and ground-based telescope Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, which will be launched no earlier than the 2020s.