Giant 'Rogue' Planet Just Spotted A Mere 20 Light-Years Away From Earth

07 August, 2018, 11:41 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • There Is an Absolutely Gigantic Rogue Planet Wandering Our Galactic Neighbourhood

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. The object, about a dozen times more massive than Jupiter, is a surprisingly strong magnetic powerhouse and a "rogue", traveling through space unaccompanied by any parent star. The "rogue" object is not attached to any star, and is the first of its kind to be discovered using a radio telescope from Earth. A light year is equal to about 6 trillion miles.

'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.

Brown dwarfs, explains the NRAO, are celestial objects that are too big to actually be considered planets, yet not big enough to sustain the nuclear fusion that keeps stars alive in their cores.

The scientists found that the object's magnetic field is more than 200 times stronger than Jupiter's, which, in turn, is between 16 and 54times stronger than Earth's, according to NASA.

Observations from the VLA provided both the first radio detection and the first measurement of the magnetic field of a possible planetary mass object beyond our Solar System. They originally were thought to not emit radio waves, but in 2001 a VLA discovery of radio flaring in one revealed strong magnetic activity.

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An artist's impression of an unusual body 12 times more massive than Jupiter some 20 light years away featuring an aurora generated by a magnetic field 200 times more powerful than Jupiter's.

Originally, scientists thought SIMP J01365663+0933473 was a enormous, old brown dwarf. Whether it is a massive exoplanet or a brown dwarf is not yet clear. However, solitary brown dwarfs do not have a solar wind from a nearby star to interact with. This meant that the object was a free-floating planet. It's an absolutely massive alien world that is almost big enough to be classified as a brown dwarf.

The planet is believed to have scorching surface temperatures of around 825C. But this new data seems to show it's a much younger object and its mass was therefore a lot smaller - meaning it could theoretically be classified as a planet in its own right.

In fact, Kao's team says the exoplanet even has auroras, which give off radio emissions that the VLA has managed to pick up.

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