About those rogue planets I’m obsessed with

Artist's conception of a Jupiter-size rogue planet with the edge on disk of a spiral galaxy in the background. Image via the Wiki

I’ve posted on rogue planets and nomads and even a few wandering worlds that reach incredible speeds. A new study confirms what common sense would tell us: some of these restless worlds end up in alien solar systems:

(MSNBC) — Billions of stars in our Milky Way galaxy have captured rogue alien planets that once cruised freely through interstellar space, a new study suggests.Many wandering alien worlds, which were ejected from the solar systems in which they formed, likely find new homes with different suns, according to the study. The finding could explain why some alien planets orbit extremely far from their stars, researchers said.

“Stars trade planets just like baseball teams trade players,” study lead author Hagai Perets, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said in a statement.

This is exciting, for a lot of reasons. It means some of the weird distribution of planets we see in exosolar systems might be explained by an uninvited, massive guest screwing up the delicate arrangements. Best of all, it means some of our familiar planets could be rogues, which would bring up the possibility of visiting a planet from another solar system thousands of earlier than we otherwise might!