Feast your eyes on that pale blue dot (lower right) folks--this is the first CONFIRMED rogue planet discovered outside our solar system! We've already detected the existence of billions of others) But this is the first one we've laid eyes on--land it's less than 100 light years away!
Just think: it's out there alone...combing it's pomador...scoping the universe for chicks.
Wait, here's a better one:
So what do we know about the inscrutably named CFBDSIRJ2149? From io9:
Located just 100 light years from Earth, it's the nearest free-floating planet candidate ever discovered. It's big (around 4—7 times the mass of Jupiter), but not too big. Objects more than 13 times the mass of our solar system's largest planet are considered to be not planets at all, but brown dwarfs. It has company; the planet appears to belong to a traveling band of celestial objects known as the AB Doradus Moving Group. It's also very cool. In visible light, the planet would be a dim, deep-red color. In the images seen here the planet appears blue, as light at longer IR wavelengths are thought to have been absorbed by molecules in the planet's atmosphere.Rogue planets are often dubbed "orphans" having no "parent" star. But it shouldn't be assumed that they're always frozen, lifeless hells, some scientists believe that rogue planets could have their own internal heat that might make for more habitable conditions (think bacteria or sea plankton here).
Meanwhile, back on Earth, there's an effort by space enthusiast group Uwingu to get a book published to help exoplanets get real names that don't resmble barcode vomit. Via NBC News.
Big ol' tip of the bubble helmet to io9.com.
Also, LA times, CBS News, and the BBC.
Images: L. Calçada, P. Delorme, Nick Risinger, R. Saito, European Southern Observatory/VVV Consortium