Astronomers have seen this kind of accretion disk around planets that orbit small stars, but it has never been found around a free-floater before, researchers reported last year at a workshop on cool stars and the sun.
That simple description set off a heated debate about whether the free-floaters should be bestowed planethood.
Thomas Haworth, an astrophysicist at the University of Cambridge, is delving deeper into how globulettes might transition from extremely tiny gas clouds to full-fledged free-floaters.
is the butterfly fern (Salvia auriculata).
Free-floater systems have already demonstrated commercial viability and military utility as communications platforms.
Other than the continual constellation replenishment necessary to ensure persistent coverage, the biggest drawback to most military free-floater concepts would seem to be that their payloads generally cannot be recovered.
com/science/astronomers-say-theyve-spotted-lonesome-planet-without-sun-8C11366309) similar free-floaters
have been spotted in the past but they were not easily identified if they were just falling stars or orphaned planets.
Scientists think that most them may have formed like stars, in isolation from contracting gas clouds, but some of the puniest free-floaters
may have formed like planets around a star and later been ejected.
That would imply that the least massive of the free-floaters could not have formed as stars do.
In deference to the ambiguous origins of free-floaters, Lucas and Roche propose calling them "planetars.
If the objects are as abundant in other clusters, the number of free-floaters dispersed through the Milky Way could rival the number of stars.
Roche of the University of Oxford examined another star cluster, Orion's Trapezium, they found hints of 13 free-floaters with planetlike masses.