Rogue planet with mystical aurora discovered drifting beyond our solar system

Space								Image Source Caltech  Chuck Carter NRAO  AUI  NSF

"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", said Dr. Melodie Kao, an astronomer at Arizona State University.

The extrasolar object, about a dozen times more massive than Jupiter, is located some 20 light-years from Earth, showed the findings made using the US National Science Foundation's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) telescope.

At 200 million years old and approximately 20 light-years from Earth, SIMP0136 has a surface temperature of about 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit (825 degrees Celsius). It is 12 times bigger than Jupiter with a magnetic field that is 200 times stronger, and it emits a glow like the northern lights on Earth. Brown dwarf planets are sometimes called "failed stars" because they're almost large enough for fusion to begin taking place in their core, but that's not even the most unique thing about this particular planet. The planet was previously mistakenly labeled in 2016 as a brown dwarf planet. This is at least how astronomers believed planets worked till they stumbled upon the first ever "rogue planet" that has been simply set adrift in the Milky Way. New analysis has proved that it is in fact a proper planet with an extraordinarily powerful magnetic field.

Astronomers originally came to the conclusion that the object was a brown dwarf because of its mass and because it does not revolve around a star like a planet typically does.

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The object, named SIMP J01365663+0933473, has 12.7 times the mass of the gas giant Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system. The first ever sighting of a Brown Dwarf happened as late as 1995.

Kao heard those results when she was looking at the newest data from the radio astronomy observatory, which helped the researchers determine the strong magnetic field. At its size, it's right between the size of a planet and a failed star, so scientists will need to study it further to determine exactly what it is.

The new discovery can make boffins believe that they may have a novel way of detecting and finding exoplanets, including rogue ones that are hard to identify since they are not orbiting a parent star like the planets do in our solar system.

Journal Reference: "The Strongest Magnetic Fields on the Coolest Brown Dwarfs", by M. Kao et al.in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series.

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