New Rogue Planet Discovered by Astronauts

Artist's conception of SIMP J01365663+0933473 an object with 12.7 times the mass of Jupiter but a magnetic field 200 times more powerful than Jupiter's. This object is 20 light-years from Earth. Credit Caltech  Chuck Carter NRAO  AUI  NSF

A huge "rogue" planet with an unexplained "glow" lurks beyond our solar system, claim scientists. The curious thing about this planet is not just its vast size but also the fact it doesn't appear to orbit any star.

According to the researchers, this object came to be some 200 million years ago and is traveling all alone in the cosmos, with no other star in its proximity to revolve around. She said that SIMP "is giving us some surprises that can potentially help us understand magnetic processes on both stars and planets". 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 commonly accepted threshold is 13 Jupiter masses, or in astronomer jargon, the "deuterium-fusion" limit, beyond which it's most likely a brown dwarf.

This is the first radio-telescope detection and first measurement of the magnetic field of such an object beyond our solar system.

In any case, the newly discovered body has a magnetic field 200 times more powerful than Jupiter's and a surface temperature of about 825 degrees Celsius (more than 1,500 F).

Most extra solar planets (known as exoplanets) are detected when they pass in front of their stars and produce a slight decrease in light, or because they pull on them and make stars oscillate slightly. That's why they had problems in establishing its nature, oscillating between calling it a planet or a "failed" star, as brown dwarfs are called.

Originally discovered in 2016, it was only recently that it was identified as a planetary-mass object, having originally been classified as a brown dwarf. It also features a magnetic field over 200 times stronger than the gas giant's.

The surprising find is peculiar because it could be a planet or a brown dwarf. Some brown dwarfs have powerful auroras like those seen around the poles of Earth, Jupiter and Saturn caused by the interactions of a planet's magnetic field and the electrically charged solar wind.

Last year, Dr. Artigau's team discovered that the object was part of a very young group of stars.

Researchers at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory have detected the first exoplanet using a radio-telescope, which is enormous, very hot, and has a powerful magnetic field.

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