'Rogue' Alien World Discovered Wandering Alone In Space (PHOTOS)

14/11/2012 12:08 | Updated 14 November 2012

A "rogue planet" has been discovered floating through the universe without a star.

The lonely world exists in almost total darkness.

Researchers say the alien world is located about 100 light years away, and has the catchy name CFBDSIR2149-0403.

It is said to be between 50-120 million year old, and formed either from a disk of congealing dust and debris like a normal planet, or in a similar way to stars without the mass to ignite.

It is moving in tandem with a group of about 30 stars said to have formed at about the same time. As a result it seems likely it was formed in a similar way, but was not massive enough to turn into a star itself.

Even so it weighs about 4-7 times the mass of Jupiter, and has a surface temperature of around 400C.

Either way, the planet ends up wandering on its own through space.

They are ridiculously hard to find, because most planets are discovered by the effect their gravitational pull has on their stars light. Without a local star, astronomers have to work harder to note its effects on nearby light sources.

The team involved in CFBDSIR2149-0403's discovery used the Canada France Hawaii Telescope and the Very Large Telescope in Chile.

Co-author Etienne Artigau of the University of Montreal said that only one homeless planet was found in a scan that covered about 1,000 times the area of the Moon in the night sky.

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