What I learned about being alone from the biggest loner in the galaxy.
I spend a good amount of time alone.
I know. But before you get all freaked out and ask if I'm OK or if I need anyone to talk to... Yes, I'm OK, and I have lots of awesome people to talk to.
The truth is, I actually enjoy it. I'm not antisocial, I don't have the blues, and I'm not getting over a breakup. I just unironically and unapologetically enjoy my me-time.
That can be weird for some people to hear.
When I forgo attending a party to relax at home with a book or some video games or I go on a long walk with my music and don't invite anyone, people wonder if I should be socializing more or need more friends.
I have a big group of amazing friends and a generally awesome life, but the world seems to think that if you're alone — you're lonely. And to be honest, sometimes I even doubt myself. I wonder if I should be getting out more or forcing myself to socialize in situations where I don't want to.
So it was actually pretty cool when I found out about WISEA 1147. A gigantic planet and a gigantic loner.
WISEA 1147 is what's known as a rogue planet. A planet that doesn't orbit around a sun, isn't attached to any system, and just generally does its own thing in the universe.
Rogue planets just sort of ... float around. They're free spirits who don't play by your rules. They don't have a sun, so they don't even have days or years. They're hard to see and track because they have nothing lighting them up and have no orbital pattern.
They're just, well ... rogue. Yeah. Good word choice, scientists.
The coolest thing is, there are a lot of them. Like a lot a lot.
No one knows for sure (since they're super hard to find) but scientists have speculated that there may be more rogue planets in the Milky Way than stars. (And there are hundreds of billions of stars.)
"There are billions of them adrift in perpetual night," said Neil deGrasse Tyson in "Cosmos." “Rogue planets are molten at the core, but frozen at the surface. There may be oceans of liquid water in the zone between those extremes. Who knows what might be swimming there?”
Side note: Every time Neil deGrasse Tyson talks, I want to cry galactic tears of wonder.
WISEA 1147 is also huge. Like huge huge.
According to recent NASA estimations, WISEA 1147 is anywhere from five to 10 times the size of Jupiter.
Do you even know how big that is? Because here's Jupiter:
So if you're like me, and love to go your own way every once in a while, don't feel bad.
Instead, look up to the stars.
For every bright beam of light you see showing off up there, there's a bunch of gigantic planets floating around not trying to impress anyone.
They're just dancing happily through the wondrous universe. Totally unattached, and — at least, I like to imagine — totally happy about it.