Astronomers Discover Massive Glowing Planet Just Drifting Beyond The Solar System
08 August, 2018, 14:37 | Author: Kelly Sanders
A new planet, which is 12 times bigger than Jupiter, has been discovered outside our solar system by astronomers. 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.
So what exactly is this rogue object?
The study's findings have been published in the Astrophysical Journal. The rogue planet is also 12 times bigger than Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, with a magnetic field that is 200 times stronger. 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.
Astronomers using NSF's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array have detected a "rogue" planetary-mass object with a surprisingly powerful magnetic field.
The massive planet is the first object of its kind to be discovered using a radio telescope. Last year, an independent team of scientists discovered that it was actually part of a young group of stars and less massive.
"This particular object is exciting because studying its magnetic dynamo mechanisms can give us new insights on how the same type of mechanisms can operate in extrasolar planets", said [Arizona State University's Melodie] Kao.
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. It is the radio signature of these auroras that allowed the researchers to detect these objects.
This rogue planet, and some brown dwarves are known to have auroras of their own despite lacking solar winds. They also have strong auroras, similar to the northern lights that can be seen on Earth.
In our solar system the planets orbit the Sun but this enormous planet is going solo.
Astronomer Gregg Hallinan of Caltech noted that the research "presents huge challenges to our understanding of the dynamo mechanism that produces the magnetic fields in brown dwarfs and exoplanets and helps drive the auroras we see".
The boundary often used to distinguish a massive gas giant plant from a brown dwarf is the "deuterium-burning limit" - the mass below whichdeuterium stops being fused in the objects core.
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