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Aug 08 2011

Rogue worlds

From Dynamics of Cats, a great article on what happens to planets as a star leaves the main sequences and shrinks to a white dwarf:

if the mass loss is sudden, “impulsive”, the planet generally goes onto an eccentric orbit, possibly hyperbolic for mass loss of ~50% or more, depending on the original eccentricity of the orbit and where the planet is along the orbit. This scenario was considered by Blaauw in 1961 and is often referred to as a “Blaauw kick”.

Under the right conditions, planets orbiting large stars could eventually break free of their shrinking primary. Hard to know how often that happens. but there are a lot of large stars and our understanding of exo solar systems via Kepler and ground based work indicates planets are common. Over time that could lead to a galaxy with no small number of rogue worlds drifting quietly through interstellar space. I wonder what they might be like?

2 comments

2 pings

  1. 1
    Pierce R. Butler

    Dark.
    Cold.

  2. 2
    Kate from Iowa

    Personally, I like to think they’re full of pies. And good booze.

  1. 3
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