Science

Scientists discover "rogue planet" outside solar system

Scientists discover

And we know this because astronomers have detected it using the Very Large Array radio telescope.

An unaccompanied brown dwarf like SIMP JO1365663+0933473, the object detected by the VLA, does not have a companion star and thus is not flying through a solar wind.

A rogue, planet-size object 20 light-years away from Earth has stunned astronomers with its incredibly powerful magnetic field. It also has a strong magnetic field, 200 times the strength of Jupiter. This finding is the first radio telescope finding of an object the mass of a planet found outside the Solar System.

'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. Nicknamed "failed stars", brown dwarfs are larger than planets, but not quite large enough to fuse hydrogen, the way stars do.

Its mass is estimated to be 12.7 times that of Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System.




Originally, scientists thought SIMP J01365663+0933473 was a enormous, old brown dwarf. But it's possible an orbiting planet or moon could trigger similar interactions like the ones seen between Jupiter and its moon Io.

The new object is wandering freely through the galaxy, untethered by an orbit to any star.

In fact, Kao's team says the exoplanet even has auroras, which give off radio emissions that the VLA has managed to pick up. 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. Further observations revealed that brown dwarfs can generate strong auroras. Whether it is a massive exoplanet or a brown dwarf is not yet clear. 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. One rule of thumb in drawing the distinction is the mass below which fusion of deuterium is not possible - about 13 Jupiter masses.

She continued: "We think these mechanisms can work not only in brown dwarfs, but also in both gas giant and terrestrial planets". It is a component of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO).

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.


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