Astronomers Discover Incredible Magnetism in Rogue Planet - NOVA Next

Artist’s conception of SIMP01365 an object with 12.7 times the mass of Jupiter but a magnetic field 200 times more powerful than Jupiter’s. Image credit Chuck Carter Caltech  NRAO  AUI  NSF

They say its strong magnetic field likely led to its being detected by a large radio-telescope in New Mexico known as the National Science Foundation's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA).

"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 extrasolar planets - planets beyond our solar system". Although this sounds hot, it's quite cool compared with the sun's surface temperature of about 9,932 degrees Fahrenheit.

The planet is thought to be 200 million years old and is 20 light-years from Earth.

In any case, the newly discovered body has a magnetic field 200 times more powerful than Jupiter's and a surface temperature of about 825 degrees Celsius (more than 1,500 F).

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 first ever sighting of a Brown Dwarf happened as late as 1995.

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. However, they agree that a dividing line can be achieved when an object is around the size of 13 Jupiter masses.

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A rogue planet over 12 times bigger than Jupiter was discovered using a radio telescope.

A further study carried out a year ago revealed that SIMP was part of a young group of stars. Its young age meant that it was in fact so much less massive that it could be a free-floating planet. It is the radio signature of these auroras that allowed the researchers to detect these objects.

Twenty light-years away, a massive, magnetic exoplanet without a sun is generating brilliant auroras that would put Earth's northern lights to shame.

On Earth, auroras are generated by interactions between its magnetic field and solar winds.

The difference between what constitutes gas giants and brown dwarfs is a matter of serious debate among astronomers, says NRAO. Instead, they believe there may be another yet-to-be-discovered planet or moon orbiting the planet.

"[This 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 Gregg Hallinan, study co-author and assistant professor of astronomy at the California Institute of Astronomy, in a statement.

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