Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Astronomers find rogue planet dozen times more massive than Jupiter

Artist's conception of SIMP J01365663+0933473 an object with a magnetic field 200 times more powerful than Jupiter’s and lives 20 light years from Earth Brown dwarf or massive exoplanet detected with powerful magnetic field
Frank Williams | 08 August, 2018, 22:47

Still unclear about their formation, scientists claim that their study showing the auroral radio emissions can further be used to discover more such planets beyond our solar system.

They're dubbing it "rogue" because it's mysteriously "drifting" through space without any kind of orbit around a parent star.

The object, which is now around 20 light years from Earth, is more than 12 times the size of Jupiter. Brown dwarfs, hard to categorise, are too huge to be classified as planets and not big enough to be classified as stars. However, they agree that a dividing line can be achieved when an object is around the size of 13 Jupiter masses.

This is the first radio-telescope detection and first measurement of the magnetic field of such an object beyond our solar system.

Despite its weight, the newly discovered planet has a radius only 1.2 times that of Jupiter, the study said. Its surface is heated up to about 825 degrees Celsius, which appears high by planetary standards, but is extremely less compared to the surface of our sun - heated up to a whopping 5,500 degrees Celsius.

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"They [the surprises] can potentially help us understand magnetic processes on both stars and planets".

It was once thought that no such object could exist and the first failed star was not discovered until 1995.

US scientists have discovered a planet 12 times more massive than Jupiter with a powerful magnetic field, and which does not orbit any stars, published today The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series.

In a report published to The Astrophysical Journal, Melodie Kao and her colleagues estimated that SIMP is roughly 200 million years old and around 12 times the size of Jupiter. That's an incredible finding, and it suggests that there's some very interesting things going on above the planet's surface. 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", Kao said. 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. Similar to the Northern Lights, this planet and some brown dwarves are known to have auroras of their own - despite lacking the solar winds that are known to drive them.

SIMP was first detected in 2016 as one of five brown dwarfs, but it was later believed to be something else after astronomers collected more data to identify its age.

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