Rogue planet with mystical aurora discovered drifting beyond our solar system

Artist's conception of SIMP J01365663+0933473 an object with 12.7 times the mass of Jupiter but a magnetic field 200 times more powerful than Jupiter's. This object is 20 light-years from Earth. Credit Caltech  Chuck Carter NRAO  AUI  NSF

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. It is travelling through space unaccompanied by any parent star. The planet is skirting the boundaries of our solar system - just 20 light years from Earth - and may prove to be an invaluable source of astronomic knowledge.

Determining the exact boundary between the classifications of planet and brown dwarf is still under debate, but many scientists use the mass 13 times the size of Jupiter.

"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 exoplanets, planets beyond our solar system", Kao explained.

A stray "planet" outside the solar system is baffling astronomers with its unusually large size and surprisingly strong magnetic field.

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The temperature on its surface is more than 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. They have detected a possible "rogue" planetary-mass object.

Originally discovered in 2016, it was only recently that it was identified as a planetary-mass object, having originally been classified as a brown dwarf.

The research team have discovered that the planet's magnetic field is incredibly strong - around 200 times stronger than Jupiter's - giving it a strong aurora.

SIMP's magnetic field is over 200 times that of Jupiter's, notes the report. That's an incredible finding, and it suggests that there's some very interesting things going on above the planet's surface. The question of where the line between a brown dwarf and a massive planet lies has plagued astronomers for years. Some brown dwarfs have powerful auroras like those seen around the poles of Earth, Jupiter and Saturn caused by the interactions of a planet's magnetic field and the electrically charged solar wind. "We think these mechanisms can work not only in brown dwarfs, but also in both gas giant and terrestrial planets". In 2001, VLA uncovered the first signs of radio flaring in a brown dwarf leading to further observations that confirmed that some of these bodies did indeed have strong auroras. However, when another team looked at the brown dwarf data they realised one of the objects, dubbed SIMP J01365663+0933473, was far younger than the others.

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