Source: ESO Science Release 1245
Artist’s impression of the free-floating planet CFBDSIR J214947.2-040308.9.
Image credits: ESO/L. Calçada/P. Delorme/R. Saito/VVV Consortium
Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope have identified a body that is very probably a planet wandering through space without a parent star. This is the most exciting free-floating planet candidate so far and the closest such object to the Solar System at a distance of about 100 light-years. Its comparative proximity, and the absence of a bright star very close to it, has allowed the team to study its atmosphere in great detail. This object also gives astronomers a preview of the exoplanets that future instruments aim to image around stars other than the Sun. (read more)