A new study shows that not only orbiting planets may support life. Apparently even rogue planets, without a real orbit could be havens for alien life.
While until recently it was believed that these planets are nearly invisible as they are not as bright as stars, recent studies have shown that such rogue planets can be detected by their auroras.
These rogue planets may have originated in some solar system or another or may even be sub-brown dwarfs formed in interstellar space and may support life on their surface or under it, according to latest scientific studies.
“It has been speculated that Earth-like rogue planets could have very thick atmosphere that keeps them relatively warm, or moons of giant rogue planets could experience tidal heating and have oceans beneath their icy surface,” declares Heikki Vanhamaki, planetary scientist at the Meteorological Institute in Helsinki, Finland.
There is a whole so-called science dedicated to finding these planets, called “planet hunting”, and it has a basis of various observed phenomenons, which make small and dim planets observable. The simplest way of finding a planet is by watching a star and noticing a dimming of the light, this being the cause of an interstellar planet passing in front of that star. Another way to detect such a rogue planet is to observer the gravitational wobbles that are induced in a parent star. This is called the called the radial velocity method an may server in detecting planets that are at some distance off.
Also, according to Vanhamaki, the analysis of radio waves given by auroras may show such a planet’s position.
“Motion of the moon through the planet’s magnetic field creates an electric potential across the moon,” explains Vanhamaki. “The electrically charged moon then accelerates electrons in the plasma around the interstellar planet, which give off radiation when they move in the planet’s magnetic field.”
However, Vanhamaki also states that the detection of such planets with the aid of radio telescopes, of present or near future design is at this moment highly unlikely.
Image credits: NASA / JPL