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Astronomers Spot Gigantic Rogue Planet Near our Solar System

Astronomers Spot Gigantic Rogue Planet Near our Solar System

In new research published in The Astrophysical Journal, scientists describe the massive object as one that's between a planet and a brown dwarf.

Originally, it was thought that brown dwarfs do not have magnetic fields, but over the past few decades, astronomers have noticed signs of magnetic activity as well as powerful auroras on these stars.

The planet, which is 12 times as large as Jupiter, sits around 20 light years away from Earth.

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. Now the array has revealed a planetary-mass object more than a dozen times bigger than Jupiter with a mysterious auroral glow.

WASHINGTON-Scientists have made the first radio-telescope detection of a huge free-floating planet beyond our solar system, a new study said. Researchers believe that SIMP, which has magnetic field 200 times more powerful than Jupiter's, may also have a moon or other planet as its particle source. Its surface seems to be about 825 degrees Celsius, while the Sun's surface reaches the 5,500.

"They [the surprises] can potentially help us understand magnetic processes on both stars and planets". Such objects were first theorized in the 60s but were first identified in 1995.

According to a recent study in The Astrophysical Journal, the rogue planet has a magnetic field nearly 4 million times stronger than Earth's and a mass 12.7 times the size of Jupiter.

Brown dwarf masses are notoriously hard to measure, and at the time, the object was thought to be an old and much more massive brown dwarf.

SIMP's magnetic field is over 200 times that of Jupiter's, notes the report.

The surprising find is peculiar because it could be a planet or a brown dwarf. The auroras on Earth are caused by our planet's magnetic field interacting with the solar wind.

The rogue planet along with some brown dwarves are known to have their own auroras, similar to the aurora borealis or the northern lights seen on Earth. "We think these mechanisms can work not only in brown dwarfs, but also in both gas giant and terrestrial planets", Kao said.

In 2016, Dr. Kao and co-authors observed SIMP0136 with the Very Large Array (VLA) in order to gain new knowledge about magnetic fields and the mechanisms by which some of the coolest brown dwarfs can produce strong radio emission.

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