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Rogue Planets and the Roman Telescope


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Text, News From The Universe. september 14, 2020
Rogue Planets and the Roman Telescope
Looking at the example of our solar system, we are familiar with planets that orbit a star. But how common is this arrangement?
The galaxy could be teeming with solo, "rogue" planets that do not have a host star.
Image, silhouette of a planet is visible against a glowing galaxy behind it.
Text, Without starlight shining on them, rogue planets are very hard to see.
Nasa's Roman Space Telescope will catch rogue planets warping the space around them with their mass, distorting and magnifying starlight from behind them.

Diagram, solid and dotted lines demonstrate the bent light effect of a planetary mass.
Roman's observations will help to determine how rogue planets form - by accumulation of material or by gravitational collapse, like a star.
The answer to how rogue planets form will provide insight into planet formation in general, including the history of our own solar system.