Milky Way may be brimming with nomads

Our galaxy may be teeming with so-called ‘nomad planets’, which travel through space rather than orbiting stars, according to a new study at Stanford University.

Nomad planets were first detected in separate research last year, which estimated there were twice as many nomad planets as stars in the galaxy. The new study used the known gravitational pull of the Milky Way and estimations of the amount of available matter to calculate a much higher ratio of 100,000 nomad planets per star.

It isn’t clear how nomad planets initially form. Although some may have been ejected from solar systems, research suggests that can’t always be the case. If the new study is confirmed by observations, though, it will affect theories of planet formation and the origin and abundance of life.

Read more at Stanford University