Astronomers Discover Incredible Magnetism in Rogue Planet - NOVA Next

Pablo Tucker
August 8, 2018

Scientists using a telescope and the VLA recorded a planetary mass object outside our Solar system.

The so-called "rogue" planet does not revolve around a star, but instead rotates around the galactic center in interstellar space.

A weird rogue planet without a star is roaming the Milky Way just 20 light-years from the Sun.

The massive planet is 20 light years away from Earth.


"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", Melodie Kao, who led this study, said in a statement.

According to experts, it is common for similar observations to be made on brown dwarfs, aborted stars with high mass to be considered as planets, but without enough to trigger nuclear fusion reactions and become stars.

A celestial object almost twelve times larger than Jupiter was found floating in space about twenty light-years from Earth. This meant that the object was much less massive and that he could be free-floating planet is just 12.7 times the mass and radius of 1.22 times the size of Jupiter.

The researchers say they are stumped by auroras dancing above the planet's poles.


The unusual object was discovered in 2016 and originally believed to be a very old brown dwarf.

The object, named SIMP J01365663+0933473, has 12.7 times the mass of the gas giant Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system.

Journal Reference: "The Strongest Magnetic Fields on the Coolest Brown Dwarfs", by M. Kao et al.in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series. That's an incredible finding, and it suggests that there's some very interesting things going on above the planet's surface.

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. 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.


This rogue planet, and some brown dwarves are known to have auroras of their own despite lacking solar winds. That's why they had problems in establishing its nature, oscillating between calling it a planet or a "failed" star, as brown dwarfs are called.

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