The Kepler Space Telescope could also be called “the original exoplanet hunter”. It is an observatory in space dedicated to finding planets outside of our solar system. Precisely, the Kepler telescope was placed into the orbit of the earth in the year 2009. Kepler discovered 2,682 exoplanets and 2,900 more awaiting confirmation of which most exist. Kepler was launched with 3 gallons of hydrazine in its fuel tank which fuels the thrusters that correct drift, pointing the telescope and orient the transmitters to Earth to send data. Kepler ran out of fuel and was replaced by another exoplanet telescope called TESS ( Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) launched on April 18th, 2018, and began collecting data on July 25th.
The Kepler telescope mission was originally planned for 3.5 years but it lasted 9 years, 7 months, and 23 days and was part of NASA’s low-cost science missions at the time. The launch was delayed eight months because of budget cuts. NASA knew Kepler would run out of fuel, and in 2012 two of its gyroscopic reaction wheels stopped working but continued its mission with help from NASA. Now a replacement by a more advanced telescope is the better option. The cost of fixing the Kepler will be fathomable high. Its cost implications far higher than a more advanced replacement. Floating Planets are far too small, small mass, and most importantly cool to directly detect, especially because they are overwhelmed in those regards by the nearby star (planets don’t emit light, but they do emit tiny amounts of infrared).
We CAN sometimes detect exoplanets, with difficulty, primarily by either their gravitational effects (repeated slight wobbling in star’s motion, as planet orbits it) or light effects (repeated slight dips in star’s light, IF the planet transits in front of it from our perspective). Neither of those work if there’s no star that planet orbits. A group of researchers at NASA has detected various floating planets in our galaxy. These floating planets are discovered with the help of the Kepler telescope. Almost four floating planets of mass similar to earth have been observed by the Kepler telescope. It detected these planets by looking for transits, mini-eclipses caused by their crossing in front of their stars in our line of sight to them. For doing so, it needed to look at a large number of stars almost continuously for as long as it could, in the hope of seeing a transit.
In its original mission, it looked at some 150,000 stars for around 3 years. Almost all planets are orbiting a star. The exceptions are called “rogue planets”, which probably were formed near a star but some mechanism busted them loose. Floating planets Usually referred to as ‘rogue planets, their number is unknown and unknowable, but likely outnumber the planets with host stars. These kinds of planets are in free fall, that we know of. That is, they are acted upon only by gravity and we are well aware of the fact that gravity is the by far dominant force on them. There is no well-defined place for finding floating planets. Generally, a lot gets discovered in a short space of time when a new planet-finding project is launched, using better technology. A planet has to obscure a star while we are looking.
We can detect a planet revolving around its parent star. But floating planets nearly invisible owing to many reasons but we can trace their presence at a particular section of our galaxy. The perfect place to look is toward our galactic center where there lots of stars and lots of rogue planets due to all the chaos. Floating planets do not orbit stars. Some believe there is one rogue planet that once orbited every star in our galaxy. Possibly ours knocked a chunk off our planet we call the moon and hauled ass out of our solar system. They may even have macrobiotic life on them. But these planets are orphans (without sun) and can’t sustain advanced lifeforms. When a planet forms, the material that will be forming it is rotating around a protostar, in a disk. Once the planet formation is completed, the planets keep rotating around the star.
This is because there is a balance between the two forces: centripetal (gravity from the star) and centrifugal force. Somehow, few planets disobey this force and dislocate from its rotation path and become Rouge. Floating planets travel through the galaxies like a nomad. The best evidence is that planets form with the star from “planetary nebulae” by a similar process to that which forms the star in the first place: gravitational accretion of nearby matter. Somehow, a planet forms during the inception period of a start lurks out from the gravity of its parent star. These planets don’t have fixed orbit like earth because they orbit the galactic center and they are ejected from planetary systems due to this ejection. They are never bounded gravitationally by any stars or dwarf planets.
Two new planets join the ranks of known worlds today. We are now at 4,424 confirmed exoplanets! Kepler-129d and GJ 849c are the latest discoveries in our exoplanet catalog. Welcome, friends🖤🖤 https://t.co/G8HwE04ACN pic.twitter.com/n0d7N3dKtG
— NASA Exoplanets (@NASAExoplanets) July 1, 2021
As far as these planets orbiting the black hole at the center of galaxies, it will be possible for a rogue planet to escape that gravity due to the “small” mass of the planet, relative to the mass of a star. Hence being described as “free-floating”. There’s a theory that also states that our planet earth is habitual because billions of years ago a floating planet carrying water hit newborn earth and transferred its water to our home planets. That hit also causes the formation of the Moon. Yet this is an unproven scientific theory that has been accepted by a lot of scientists from all around the world. Floating/Rogue Planets along with everything else in our galaxy orbit a galactic center which is where our black hole lives aka Mr. Gravity. Through sensible assessment, likely in the range of hundreds of billions. Estimating, the number of stars in the Milky Way is between 200 billion and 450 billion — so guessing the number of planets is even more unreliable.
On average, numbers of all varieties of planets can surpass even trillions only in the milky way galaxy. Our current finding from the Kepler telescope states that Floating (aka Rouge planets) is not in very few numbers, but they are believed to be extremely common. There are perhaps 400 billion stars in our galaxy. Most are expected to have planets, and often multiple planets, orbiting them. Estimates range from 100 billion to a trillion or more such planets. The number of rogue planets is estimated to be greater than the combined number of stars PLUS planets! So perhaps 1–2 trillion of them, wandering through interstellar space. A newly adopted method that does work, for both exoplanets and rogue planets is gravitational micro-lensing. This method is in consideration of scientists owing to its precise results.
If a planet passes precisely between a distant star and us, it can briefly cause a magnification or distortion of the light from that star. These are unpredictable and unreproducible, and brief, so there is limited info we can get from this. The process to utilize gravitational lensing is still in the initial phase of development. We know very little about this natural phenomenon. With the help of gravitational lensing, scientists at Nasa have observed more than twenty-seven microlensing signals. Some of these signals were so minute that it was nearly impossible to find out the source of the signal. In all those observed signals, astronomers have clarified that they have discovered four floating planets with the help of gravitational lensing. Although owing to the rouge nature of the discovered planets, it was really hard to detect them and deduce them as floating planets.
Development in astronomical equipment may pave the wave for the exploration of the universe in the near future. The hypothesis of the emptiness of space is invalid, the space is far from empty. The thing is we know only 0.000001% about our macrocosm. Our current knowledge about the universe tells us that it is filled with atoms and photons even though in general at very low density. Galaxies are a big colony of billions and trillions of stars. Planets form as the result of collapsing matter around a star. If the question is then, why don’t planets fall inside their parent star, the answer is “because of energy conservation”. Survey telescopes can watch large chunks of the sky and catch them, enough to infer a little info about say the mass of planet and location and see if there is a star nearby that it would be orbiting, or if on the other hand, it is a rogue.
With enough such observations, you can start getting some good statistics on the abundance of different types of planets in the galaxy. We’re still relatively early in these surveys, but in the near future, we should have much better estimates of what true abundances are.