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Astronomers discovered an interstellar planet the size of Earth

Scientists first discovered in interstellar space a planet comparable in size to Earth, TASS reported, citing a Warsaw University announcement.
“When we received the first signals from the gravitational microlens, we immediately realized that the light of a distant star was distorted by a small object, the planet OGLE-2016-BLG-1928, which is the size of Mars or Earth. We are convinced that this cannot be due to an object hovering around another star, because we would have recorded traces of its existence,” said Radoslaw Poleski, a planetiologist from the University of Warsaw, as cited by BTA.

Over the past decade, astronomers have discovered in near-Earth regions of interstellar space several cold celestial bodies, which are often called wanderer planets or interstellar planets. They move freely in interstellar space, not hovering around a single star. Their origins, for now, are unclear to science.

Within the framework of the OGLE project, Poleski and his colleagues have discovered four similar planets in recent years. They discovered the first interstellar planet similar in size to Earth while analyzing data obtained within the project back in June 2016. The scientists' attention was drawn to a star in the constellation Sagittarius, whose light was distorted by a tiny gravitational microlens within 42 minutes.

After studying this event in detail, astronomers confirmed that it was not caused by errors in the operation of the apparatus or the activity of the star and were able to determine the size of the planet that caused the distortion of light.


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