Scientists discover a giant rogue planet wandering outside our solar system. This is the first planetary-mass object scientists identify beyond our solar system.
Rogue planets are objects that orbit around the galaxy without a parent star. The newfound planet has incredible magnetism and it’s huge. According to the researchers at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, the new object might be a dozen times bigger than Jupiter.
‘This object is right at the boundary between a planet and a brown dwarf, or ‘failed star,’ and is giving us some surprises that can potentially help us understand magnetic processes on both stars and planets,’ said Melodie Kao, led the study while a graduate student at Caltech, and is now a Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow at Arizona State University.
Brown dwarfs are objects too massive to be planets, yet not massive enough to sustain nuclear fusion of hydrogen in their cores — the process that powers stars.
Astronomers have detected the enormous planet from the US-Based Very Large Array radio observatory. The rogue planet is wandering some 20 light years away from our Sun. It is about 200 million years old.
The surface temperature of the mysterious object is about 825 degrees Celsius or more than 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. By comparison, the Sun’s surface temperature is about 5,500 degrees Celsius.
Scientists were able to pick up its magnetic activity from the radio observatory and study it, the findings of which were made public on Thursday. They named the new object SIMP J01365663+0933473.
Researchers have discovered the planet through its auroral radio emissions using the VLA. So, the discovery makes scientists believe that they may have a new way of finding exoplanets, including the rogue ones. By the way, rogue planets are really hard to find because they don’t orbit a parent star.
Thumbnail image: Artist’s conception of SIMP J01365663+0933473 Credit: Chuck Carter, NRAO/AUI/NSF.