Published: Wed, August 08, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Scientists discover "rogue planet" outside solar system

Scientists discover

"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", study lead astronomer Melodie Kao said.

The VLA observations provided both the first radio detection and the first measurement of the magnetic field of a possible planetary mass object beyond our solar system. It has a surface temperature of about 825 degrees Celsius. 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.

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.

A rogue planet with 12 times the mass of Jupiter with dancing auroras has been discovered just outside our solar system, a new study says. Scientists aren't exactly sure how the auroras form in brown dwarfs, but they do have some theories. However, they agree that a dividing line can be achieved when an object is around the size of 13 Jupiter masses.


Astronomers mentioned that only a few rogue planets have been discovered until now and according to them, there could be many more such cosmic bodies hiding in the universe, waiting to be discovered, even though at the moment finding such an object is a rare event. That's because spotting the dips in the star's brightness as the planet passes in front of it gives away its presence. It is the radio signature of these auroras that allowed the researchers to detect these objects.

Simultaneously, Dr. Kao's team observed SIMP0136 in a new study at even higher radio frequencies and confirmed that its magnetic field was even stronger than first measured - more than 200 times stronger than Jupiter's.

Recently, exoplanets which may be able to support life in conditions similar to those found on Earth have also been recently spotted. Now, as stated in the new research, it is thought that the cosmic object is a planet, with an enormously strong magnetic field. However, brown dwarfs are typically solitary and don't have a nearby star - therefore they don't have any solar wind to interact with.

She continued: "We think these mechanisms can work not only in brown dwarfs, but also in both gas giant and terrestrial planets".

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