Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Astronomers Discover Massive Glowing Planet Just Drifting Beyond The Solar System

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
Kristen Harrington | 08 August, 2018, 14:37

It was initially thought to be much larger and much older, but the new study has found that the object (called SIMP J01365663+0933473) is "only" 200 million years old. A light year is equal to about 6 trillion miles.

Brown dwarfs are often considered too massive to be planets, but they aren't quite massive enough to sustain the process of hydrogen nuclear fusion at their core, which powers stars.

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What's really special about that planet with the big long name is that it has a magnetic field 200 times stronger than even the mighty Jupiter. Recently astronomers using the National Science Foundation's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array to probe the planet's radio emissions determined the object to be a rogue planet. The first ever sighting of a Brown Dwarf happened as late as 1995. Such cases are rare as only a few rogue planets have been found before but it is theorized that many similar planets may in fact exist. The discovery marks the first time radio observations and magnetic field measurements have been made of such a body and opens the door for future insights into exploring exoplanetary magnetic fields. It's so big that it can barely be classified a planet - it's nearly a failed star. 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. The mysterious auroras of the planet, or rather their radio signature, is what allowed the scientists to identify the planet, but for now it is still not known how these auroras are formed.

But the abnormally high magnetic field makes it even more exciting. However, a nearby moon or another orbiting planet may be the answer.

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Brown dwarf masses are notoriously hard to measure, and at the time, the object was thought to be an old and much more massive brown dwarf.

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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"[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. The planet is rotating around the galactic center in the interstellar space.

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