Astronomers Discover Massive Glowing Planet Just Drifting Beyond The Solar System

Ismael LynchAug 08, 2018

Using a large radio telescope, scientists have detected a rogue planet outside our solar system.

Brown dwarfs are objects in space that are too big to be considered as planets, but are not big enough to sustain nuclear fusion of hydrogen within their cores, which is the process that powers stars. This first of its kind object is around 20 light years away from Earth.

A rogue planet over 12 times bigger than Jupiter was discovered using a radio telescope. 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.

A massive glowing "rogue" planetary-mass object has been discovered, surprising scientists with not only its size, but also the fact it's not orbiting a star.

A stray "planet" outside the solar system is baffling astronomers with its unusually large size and surprisingly strong magnetic field. It also has a surface temperature of 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to minus 234 degrees Fahrenheit for Jupiter and 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit for the Sun.

The researchers say they are stumped by auroras dancing above the planet's poles. The newly discovered object, called SIMP J01365663+0933473, has been found to have a magnetic field 200 times more powerful than Jupiter's. It also has a strong magnetic field that is more than 200 times stronger than Jupiter's.

Researchers believe the rogue planet is quite young, estimating its age at around 200 million years. "We think these mechanisms can work not only in brown dwarfs, but also in both gas giant and terrestrial planets", Kao said. Once more data was obtained, the idea that SIMP J01365663+0933473 was a brown dwarf was scrapped.

Of particular note is the presence of strong auroras, which typically involve a planet's magnetic field interacting with solar wind.

The first of such astronomical bodies was observed in 1995 and the scientists are still trying to understand more about the radio emissions and magnetic fields of five brown dwarves. Gregg Hallinan of the Caltech said that such a powerful magnetic field raises new questions for our understanding of the dynamical mechanism generating such fields in brown dwarfs and extrasolar planets, and lights on them.

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