Gigantic Rogue Planet Found Lurking Outside Our Solar System

There Is an Absolutely Gigantic Rogue Planet Wandering Our Galactic Neighbourhood

Astronomers using NSF's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array have detected a "rogue" planetary-mass object with a surprisingly powerful magnetic field. This first of its kind object is around 20 light years away from Earth. The team's analysis showed the planet's magnetic field is around 200 times stronger than Jupiter's, and this could help explain why it also has a strong aurora.

It's believed that the magnetic dynamo mechanisms of this particular space object will help scientists discover more planets beyond our solar system using auroral radio emissions.

The auroras on our planet are caused by its magnetic field interacting with the solar wind (the continuous flow of charged particles from the sun's upper atmosphere, known as the corona, that permeates 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", Dr Melodie Kao and astronomer at Arizona State University told The Independent.

Brown dwarfs, objects that are two massive be considered planets but not massive enough to sustain nuclear fusion in their cores, were first predicted in the 1960s and detected for the first time in 1995.

A rogue planet more than 12 times the size of Jupiter (artist's impression pictured) has been spotted hurling through space.

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Scientists have discovered a planet that travels outside our solar system, but it seems that it doesn't orbit a star. But it's possible an orbiting planet or moon could trigger similar interactions like the ones seen between Jupiter and its moon Io.

The newly identified object is classified as a brown dwarf due to its mass. The temperature on that planet is about 825 degrees Celsius, which makes it a lot cooler than out Sun.

In fact, Kao's team says the exoplanet even has auroras, which give off radio emissions that the VLA has managed to pick up. One rule of thumb in drawing the distinction is the mass below which fusion of deuterium is not possible - about 13 Jupiter masses.

The exact difference between a large gas planet and a brown dwarf is a bone of contention for scientists, with debate raging over what defines one or the other. 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 findings appear in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.



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