Astronomers Make 'Exciting' Discovery - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Astronomers Make 'Exciting' Discovery

NEW YORK -- Are these planets without orbits? Astronomers have found 10 potential planets as massive as Jupiter wandering through a slice of the Milky Way galaxy, following either very wide orbits or no orbit at all. And scientists think they are more common than the stars.

These mysterious bodies, apparently gaseous balls like the largest planets in our solar system, may help scientists understand how planets form.

"They're finding evidence for a lot of pretty big planets," said Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, who wasn't involved in the research.

If they orbit stars, their sheer number suggests every star in the galaxy has one or two of them, "which is astounding" because that's five or 10 times the number of stars scientists had thought harbored such gas-giant planets, he said.

And if instead they are wandering free, that "would be really stunning" because it's hard to explain how they formed, he said.

If that's the case, it would give a boost to some theories that say planets can be thrown out of orbit during formation, said Lisa Kaltenegger of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, another outside expert.

Other scientists have reported free-wandering objects in star-forming regions of the cosmos, but the newfound objects appear to be different, said one author of the new study, physicist David Bennett of the University of Notre Dame.

Bennett and colleagues from Japan, New Zealand and elsewhere report the finding in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature. They didn't observe the objects directly. Instead, they used the fact that massive objects bend the light of distant stars with their gravity, just as a lens does. So they looked extensively for such "microlensing" events.

They found 10, each caused by one of the newfound objects. They calculated each object has about the mass of Jupiter, and estimated how common such objects are. They also found no sign of a star near these bodies, at least not within 10 times the distance from Earth to the sun. (For comparison, within our solar system that would basically rule out an orbit closer than Saturn's.) >>>CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 2 bodies found in pickup truck near Washington highway

    2 bodies found in pickup truck near Washington highway

    Thursday, May 25 2017 8:04 PM EDT2017-05-26 00:04:42 GMT
    2 bodies found in pickup truck near Washington highway2 bodies found in pickup truck near Washington highway

    WENATCHEE, Wash. (AP) - The bodies of a man and woman have been found in a pickup truck near a Washington highway. KCPQ-TV reported Wednesday that the Chelan County Sheriff's Office says it appears someone had been trying to conceal the vehicle. The deputy who went to the call had said someone attempted to conceal the truck with a blanket, duct tape and natural vegetation from the area. The bodies had been in the driver's seat and front passe...

    >>

    WENATCHEE, Wash. (AP) - The bodies of a man and woman have been found in a pickup truck near a Washington highway. KCPQ-TV reported Wednesday that the Chelan County Sheriff's Office says it appears someone had been trying to conceal the vehicle. The deputy who went to the call had said someone attempted to conceal the truck with a blanket, duct tape and natural vegetation from the area. The bodies had been in the driver's seat and front passe...

    >>
  • Woman's warning after she says a stranger followed her home

    Woman's warning after she says a stranger followed her home

    Thursday, May 25 2017 9:04 PM EDT2017-05-26 01:04:30 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - One Spokane woman wants to warn people to be careful when they’re out by themselves after she says she had a run-in with a strange man. “He made the hairs on my neck stand up. He gave me a weird feeling,” she says. She didn’t want to be identified because she’s still afraid. She was out walking her dog near 55th and Freya when a man suddenly appeared very close to her “I looked up and he was right there,” she 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - One Spokane woman wants to warn people to be careful when they’re out by themselves after she says she had a run-in with a strange man. “He made the hairs on my neck stand up. He gave me a weird feeling,” she says. She didn’t want to be identified because she’s still afraid. She was out walking her dog near 55th and Freya when a man suddenly appeared very close to her “I looked up and he was right there,” she 

    >>
  • Young inventor from Post Falls appears on 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show'

    Young inventor from Post Falls appears on 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show'

    Thursday, May 25 2017 9:16 PM EDT2017-05-26 01:16:56 GMT
    Courtesy Ellen TVCourtesy Ellen TV

    POST FALLS, Idaho - A young inventor by the name of Alex Knoll made his big debut on 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show" Thursday. 12-year-old Alex is from Post Falls, Idaho and is the creator of an award-winning app. He developed Ability App to help improve the lives of those with disabilities by giving them resources to make informed decisions. On the talk show, Alex shared with Ellen stories of his hero and background on the app. Alex is 

    >>

    POST FALLS, Idaho - A young inventor by the name of Alex Knoll made his big debut on 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show" Thursday. 12-year-old Alex is from Post Falls, Idaho and is the creator of an award-winning app. He developed Ability App to help improve the lives of those with disabilities by giving them resources to make informed decisions. On the talk show, Alex shared with Ellen stories of his hero and background on the app. Alex is 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/