Exotempestology

Purely in terms of extreme landscapes, this planet is certainly one of the most notable: eight times the mass of Jupiter, but starless, adrift, an “orphaned world” without a sun, “somehow shot out of its orbit” into the darkness of space, its skies thundering with storms of molten metal.

(Story is from 2015, but randomly rediscovered this morning in my bookmarks.)

6 thoughts on “Exotempestology”

  1. Beautiful. I think I’ve told you about this already, but if not: 12,400 light years from Earth, in the Scorpius constellation, is a globular cluster of 100,000 stars. Inside it is a planet 250% as massive as Jupiter called PSR B1620-26 b; or, more simply, Methuselah. Methuselah is the eldest planet in the Milky Way. It formed ~12.7 billion years ago, as the galaxy itself was first congealing. It’s currently trapped in a circumbinary orbit around a pulsar and a white dwarf. But as this triple system drifts closer to the center of the cluster, the more likely it is to encounter another star. When this happens, Methuselah – far lighter than its companions – will be torn loose. And it too will wander through interstellar space, alone, for the rest of its existence. The end.

  2. I wonder what keeps such a planet warm enough to melt metal? The New Scientist article doesn’t offer much of an explanation. Was the ejection recent? If not, what is the power source for that heat?

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