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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

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Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Found In Our Neighborhood: A Planet Without A Sun

November 14, 2012, 9:41 AM

What's the Latest Development?

A paper soon to appear in Astronomy and Astrophysics reports the discovery of a "rogue planet" about 100 light-years from Earth. This planet, which is drifting in space without a sun to orbit around, is the nearest of its kind to be observed from Earth and the only one found in a hunt using Hawaii's Canada France Hawaii Telescope and Chile's Very Large Telescope. It's not traveling alone, though: The team of researchers is about 87% certain that it's part of the AB Doradus Moving Group, a collection of about 30 drifting stars estimated to have formed at the same time as the planet, between 50 and 120 million years ago.

What's the Big Idea?

Astronomers believe rogue planets develop in one of two ways: either as planets that somehow got kicked out of a star's orbit, or as potential stars that never attained enough mass to start the process that creates starlight, a characteristic normally attributed to brown dwarfs ("failed stars"). This planet's mass is estimated to be four to seven times that of Jupiter's, which would make it much smaller than a brown dwarf. If it is indeed a rejected planet, it's likely that there are many more out there just like it, according to a co-author of the paper.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com


Found In Our Neighborhood: ...

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