Buried among the seeming endlessness of the Universe, there could be infinite worlds that never see the light of day. Such mysterious yet intriguing cosmic bodies, dubbed rogue planets, are unique, and there could be multitudes of them.
These rogue worlds, however, won’t be able to hide from us for much longer. In the next few years, NASA will launch the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, with optics expected to offer us a field of view 100 times higher than the well-known Hubble Telescope. Here is what you need to know.
Rogue Planets in the Spotlight: a Possible Mission
In our Solar System, Earth and all its planetary neighbors orbit around the Sun, soaking in its light and warmth. Except for rogue planets, also known as FFPs (free-floating planetary-mass objects). They just drift alone through space, belonging to nothing but the unknown. They stray so far away from starlight that they became impossible to spot.
Thanks to NASA’s upcoming mission, the rogue planets will be finally seen. The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will soon start its mission, and its enhanced telescopic vision will enable a new generation of investigation and studying bound and unbound exoplanets.
The Roman telescope will spot the rogue planets using a technique called gravitational microlensing. Such a thing occurs when light from a distant cosmic body like a star gets bent via gravitational forces exerted by a huge object, such as a planet.
Furthermore, when that process of bending happens, the light from the distant star gets magnified, so that scientists can uncover new data easier. Gravitational microlensing has been utilized for more than 30 years, but with the Roman telescope’s skills, it’s expected to unveil dark, cold rogue planets that were never seen before.
There are still a few years until NASA will launch the telescope. The mission is scheduled for 2025.
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