Published: Tue, August 07, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

Massive rogue planet crowned with a glowing aurora found wandering the galaxy

Massive rogue planet crowned with a glowing aurora found wandering the galaxy

Researchers have discovered a "rogue" planet outside of our solar system using the Very Large Array (VLA), the first time such a discovery has been made using a radio telescope.

The newly discovered planet was originally detected in 2016 and was considered to be a brown dwarf.

They're calling it a "rogue" planet because it appears to be travelling through space without any kind of orbit around a parent star.

The unusual object in the latest study, called SIMP J01365663+0933473, has a magnetic field more than 200 times stronger than Jupiter's.

Scientists have found evidence of the first ever planetary-mass object beyond our solar system. It's a massive 200 times the strength of Jupiter's magnetic field.

Dr Melodie Kao, an astronomer at Arizona State University said as per a report by Independent, "This object is right at the boundary between a planet and a brown dwarf, or "failed star", and is giving us some surprises that can potentially help us understand magnetic processes on both stars and planets".

Brown dwarves have long stumped scientists: they're too huge to be considered planets and not big enough to be considered stars.

Further research however, saw that one of the objects, called SIMP J01365663+0933473, was considerably younger and smaller than the others.

This Hubble telescope snapshot shows auroras on Jupiter
This Hubble telescope snapshot shows auroras on Jupiter

It's thought that SIMP J01365663+0933473 is only 200 million years-old and is just 20 light-years away from Earth. However, a nearby moon or another orbiting planet may be the answer.

Such a strong magnetic field could improve our understanding of dynamo mechanism.

It also boasts scorching surface temperatures of around 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a process by which celestial bodies like brown dwarfs and exoplanets generate a magnetic field.

Nevertheless, we still can't figure out how brown dwarf stars get auroras, considering they're nowhere near any type of stellar winds. Brown dwarfs are neither planets nor stars.

A mysterious large object is floating around outside our solar system and researchers aren't sure exactly what it is - although it could be a rogue planet.

The difference between what constitutes gas giants and brown dwarfs is a matter of serious debate among astronomers, says NRAO.

The Caltech team that originally detected its radio emission in 2016 had observed it again in a new study at even higher radio frequencies and confirmed that its magnetic field was even stronger than what they had measured the first time.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

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