Rogue planet with mystical aurora discovered drifting beyond our solar system

07 August, 2018, 00:26 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • Astronomers find rogue planet dozen times more massive than Jupiter

Rogue planets are hard to identify because these objects travel through space without any parent star and do not emit any kind of light.

The unusual object, called SIMP J01365663+0933473, has a magnetic field which is more than 200 times stronger than the magnetic field field of Jupiter, according to the study published in The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series. But since then, as our technology progressed, astronomers found that these stars also exhibit signs of magnetic activity, including the formation of powerful auroras - which on Earth are created by solar wind particles interacting with the planet's magnetic field.

"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 Caltech graduate student Melodie Kao, who led the study, in a statement. Brown dwarves are hard objects to categorise they are too huge to be considered planets and not big enough to be considered stars.

A massive rogue planet has been discovered beyond our solar system. Once more data was obtained, the idea that SIMP J01365663+0933473 was a brown dwarf was scrapped.

Initially believed to be a brown dwarf star, the peculiar celestial object, boasting a suite of unusual physical traits, turned out to be a planet after all.

Although the planet is roaming the galaxy by itself, without a companion star to orbit, its surface is quite hot judging by planetary standards. Since the mass of a Brown dwarf is hard to accurately calculate, at the time, the object found was thought to be an old, massive brown dwarf. The auroras seen on Earth are caused by our planet's magnetic field interacting with the solar wind.

It also boasts scorching surface temperatures of around 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Scientists using a radio-telescope array have spotted a enormous roaming cosmic body with an abnormally strong magnetic field.

This is known as the "deuterium-burning limit" and happens around 13 Jupiter masses. The rogue body is almost large enough to be considered a gas giant planet and it offers researchers the opportunity to study these massive objects, shedding light on their magnetic realities.

The unusually strong magnetic field "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", said Caltech's Gregg Hallinan.

The difference between what constitutes gas giants and brown dwarfs is a matter of serious debate among astronomers, says NRAO.

The findings appear in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series.


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