NASA launched this illustration of what an exomoon may look.

NASA/ESA/L. Hustak.

Dear Journal, I imagine one day fleing from my house in orbit around my gas giant world, which is now moving ever closer to our planetary system’s star. Thanks for the push, gravitational forces! Quickly I will be devoid of my planetary orbit and I will no longer be simply another moon. I will break away and end up being … a ploonet!

If you’re getting “ moonmoon” vibes from this entire ploonet thing, you’re not alone. The term integrates the words “world” and “moon” to explain a theoretical moon that breaks away from its host and became its own type of little world.

Ploonets are now a thing thanks to a paper sent for evaluation to the Regular monthly Notifications of the Royal Astronomical Society journal. It’s called Ploonets: development, advancement, and detectability of tidally removed exomoons

Astrophysicist Mario Sucerquia, the lead author, stated he and co-author Jorge Zuluaga developed the label “since we pretended to catch in a single word the whole bio of these items: worlds with a moonish origin.” He stated he discovers the term “fascinating.”

The researchers thought about choosing “moonets,” however wished to strengthen how they wind up as worlds.

The scientists ran simulations of a big exomoon(a moon situated around a world in another planetary system) orbiting a gas giant (think about a hot Jupiter) that’s moving ever closer to its star.

The simulations didn’t end well for a great deal of these theoretical moons, which dealt with deaths consisting of crashing into their own worlds or burning up in the star. However some endured in the simulations to accomplish their own orbits around the star. Voila, ploonets!

Astrophysicist Heloise Stevance, who was not associated with the paper, developed and tweeted an useful infographic to describe how this all works.

As Stevance explains, ploonets are most likely to live quick and pass away young.

If you wish to immerse yourself in all the juicy astrophysics information of ploonets, make sure to take a look at Sucerquia’s own Twitter thread on the matter. He goes over how we may able to find ploonets, a few of which might wind up appearing like huge comets or simply routine exoplanets.

However here’s the kicker: “The Earth’s tidal strength is slowly pressing the Moon far from us at a rate of about 3 centimeters each year,” he tweeted “For that reason, the moon is certainly a possible ploonet!”

Great then, I’ll see you on the dark side of the ploonet.

Initially released July 10, 9: 04 a.m. PT.
Update, 3: 08 p.m. PT: Includes remark from lead author of paper.