Alien Planets Outnumber Stars

Montage of Jupiter and the Galilean satellites, Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.

Montage of Jupiter and the Galilean satellites, Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.

When we look up at the night sky we see millions of  twinkling stars. But how many planets are we not seeing? Astronomers’ new study has found that ‘Jupiter-like gas giants’ are more common than previously thought. The National Geographic reports:

If you look to the stars tonight, consider this: No matter how innumerable they may seem, there are far more planets than stars lurking out there in the darkness, a new study suggests.

The study uncovered a whole new class of worlds: Jupiter-like gas giants that have escaped the gravitational bonds of their parent stars and are freely roaming space.

What’s more, “our results indicate that such planets are quite common,” said study team member David Bennett, an astronomer at Notre Dame University in Indiana.

“There’s a good chance that the closest free-floating planet is closer to Earth than the closest star.”

Ohio State University astronomer Scott Gaudi added, “It’s not surprising that free-floating planets are out there”—they’ve been predicted by planet-formation theories for years—”it’s just how many of them that they’re finding.”

[Continues at National Geographic News]

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  • Daveymueller

    More planets than stars, huh? How much did this priceless bit of knowledge cost taxpayers? i could have told you that 30 years ago…

  • Daveymueller

    More planets than stars, huh? How much did this priceless bit of knowledge cost taxpayers? i could have told you that 30 years ago…

    • Tech95

      You’re the kind of person that hinders humanity’s progress. 
      “Man, the space program costs so much money, we have an economy and all that shiat y’know”.
      Either way we explore space, or we keep toiling in the mud.  If you want mankind to be earthbound worms, good for you, but I’d prefer to journey to the stars and see what’s out there. 
      That’s what makes us human for crying out loud.  To go beyond the horizon, not reading the Financial Times or bitching about bank accounts.

      And btw, if you want to see taxpayer’s money go to good use, I have a few options.  But it mostly involves things that would be labelled “socialism”, and not paying for the crisis banks caused.  The latter swallowed far more taxpayer’s money than the space program or astronomical research.

      • jackedu317

        how are we supposed to explore space when we can’t get beyond the radiation belt that surrounds the earth? 

    • –N–

      Dave, if you read the text all the way through you would have noticed the term free-floating plant, meaning the planet isn’t bounded by a star.  We are quite aware that there are more planets than stars; it’s the newfound idea that there are more unbound planets than stars that is what is interesting in this article. So next time you feel the need to make yourself look stupid, sit and thing about what you are going to say, asshat.

  • Tech95

    You’re the kind of person that hinders humanity’s progress. 
    “Man, the space program costs so much money, we have an economy and all that shiat y’know”.
    Either way we explore space, or we keep toiling in the mud.  If you want mankind to be earthbound worms, good for you, but I’d prefer to journey to the stars and see what’s out there. 
    That’s what makes us human for crying out loud.  To go beyond the horizon, not reading the Financial Times or bitching about bank accounts.

    And btw, if you want to see taxpayer’s money go to good use, I have a few options.  But it mostly involves things that would be labelled “socialism”, and not paying for the crisis banks caused.  The latter swallowed far more taxpayer’s money than the space program or astronomical research.

  • jackedu317

    this is like saying there are more countries than continents. FUCKING DUH?…………

  • jackedu317

    this is like saying there are more countries than continents. FUCKING DUH?…………

  • Anonymous

    That depends on what your definition of “Planet” would be. Maybe it’s just planetoids that outnumber stars?

  • SF2K01

    That depends on what your definition of “Planet” would be. Maybe it’s just planetoids that outnumber stars?

  • jackedu317

    how are we supposed to explore space when we can’t get beyond the radiation belt that surrounds the earth? 

  • –N–

    Dave, if you read the text all the way through you would have noticed the term free-floating plant, meaning the planet isn’t bounded by a star.  We are quite aware that there are more planets than stars; it’s the newfound idea that there are more unbound planets than stars that is what is interesting in this article. So next time you feel the need to make yourself look stupid, sit and thing about what you are going to say, asshat.

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