Astronomers discover freakish rogue planet glowing with auroras


It is simply floating through space without any tethers to a star.

The object is about 20 light years away from Earth, farther than the Alpha Centauri star system that is about 4 light years away.

Brown dwarfs are generally "too massive to be considered planets, yet not massive enough to sustain nuclear fusion of hydrogen in their cores - the process that powers stars", the researchers note.

Researchers have discovered a "rogue" planet outside of our solar system using the Very Large Array (VLA), the first time such a discovery has been made using a radio telescope.

However, the supermassive exoplanet or brown dwarf possesses a significant magnetic field by 200 times more potent than Jupiter and has a surface temperature of approximately 825 degrees Celsius. According to the astrophysicists, it would be a free object of planetary mass, an object possessing the mass of a planet but which is not gravitationally attached to any star or brown dwarf. It's an absolutely massive alien world that is almost big enough to be classified as a brown dwarf.

The object, named SIMP J01365663+0933473, has 12.7 times the mass of the gas giant Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system.

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Yet to be given a catchy name by the scientists that have observed it through the National Science Foundation's advanced radio telescope arrays, the object is officially known as SIMP J01365663+0933473. Its fields are between 16 and 54 times more powerful than earth's and around 200 times more powerful than Jupiter's.

The surprising find is peculiar because it could be a planet or a brown dwarf.

It was once thought that no such object could exist and the first failed star was not discovered until 1995. The auroras on Earth are caused by our planet's magnetic field interacting with the solar wind.

Caltech's Gregg Hallinan said that researching SIMP "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". Last year, an independent team of scientists discovered the object was, in fact, part of a very young group of stars meaning it could have been far larger.

The newly identified planet was originally detected in 2016 in New Mexico, but was considered at that time to be a brown dwarf.